Philip Storey RIP
Once more we have lost a true Godmanchester boy. I have it from a reliable source that Philip’s blindness was discovered when, at the tender age of 11 months, he was found to be crawling into furniture. He was sent to a school for blind children in York at the age of five where he was heard to say 'I will give you all the pennies in my purse if you will let me go home'. He was not there for long. Later Philip was moved to a school in Sheffield, where he stayed until the age of 12. I understand that between 12 and 16 he was at Linden Lodge in London, where the boys were housed at Battersea and the girls at Wimbledon. Linden Lodge Schools are still there.
Upon leaving school the young man was employed by the Huntingdon firm Acoustical where he was paid a girl’s wage, soon moving on to Papworth in printing. From there our man went to college in London to train in piano tuning. Philip enjoyed this and rather cheekily went out tuning before being completely qualified. He was well known in this area as a very good piano tuner, at times travelling by bus with his dog to perform this service for people.
Philip led a full, happy and varied life. One of his hobbies . . a 'radio ham'.
Philip had a son, Robert and a daughter, Jaqueline. There were three step children.
Later, in the 1970s, Philip was helped to set up his music shop here in Chadley Lane, which did very well. I understand that the whole family helped with paper work etc.
Philip Storey: Some Personal Memories
I first became acquainted with Philip in 1971. I had bought an old piano, on arrival in Godmanchester as a young teacher, and I booked him to tune it on a friend’s recommendation. He treated that poor old instrument with great care and patience, kindly describing it as ‘not a bad old Jo’, and later gave me his trusted opinion on its replacement. He helped to get me a very good deal by remaining poker-faced until we were out of the second-hand shop . . 'Snatch his hand off, Mary. If you don’t buy it, I’m having it. You’ll have a good one there!' And so it proved, maintained by his careful attention for as long as he was able to work.
Philip made it easy to forget that he could not see. Once he knew you, his amazing ear for voices enabled him to greet you by name, even if all you had said was ‘Good afternoon, Philip.’ And to watch his sensitive fingers at work was a privilege. (On one occasion he found my lost contact lens, which had fallen onto the piano!). And he would often use phrases like ‘See you next week’ and ‘Look at this!’. Self-deprecating and courteous, it was as though he strove for ‘ordinariness’, but he was far from ordinary. He had a keen interest in world events as well as in people, he was a skilled and qualified radio ‘ham’; (the photo, donated by his son, Robert, shows him absorbed in this favourite activity.) He was a businessman active in the local blind community and no mean musician, as anyone who ever heard him entertaining with his piano accordion could testify.
He saw the world, and us, through different eyes, and we are all the better for it.
Mary Whitman Hardy
Philip Storey - 11 July 1940 - 1 August 2013