Tributes for Blackburn poet who died after realising lifelong dream

Bill Austin

Bill Austin

First published in News Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A POET who earlier this year realised a lifelong dream of having his work published has died, aged 91.

Bill Austin, of Bute Road, Shadsworth, overcame arthritis to publish ‘If You Don’t Like Poetry Read This’ with the help of his neighbour Amanda Chinery.

The great grandad, who was also an inventor, died in hospital last week and leaves children Maureen, Terry and Lynda, and five grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Mr Austin was a radio engineer who was once a specialist in interpreting high-speed Morse Code messages from German command during the Second World War.

He moved to Blackburn for work 60 years ago and lived in Bute Road for almost all of those years.

Towards the end of his working life he spent 12 years at Donaghadee Carpets in Roman Road until he retired.

A budding inventor, he went on to invent the Stair Aid to help his late second wife Betty after she suffered a stroke and struggled to get around the home.

He later joined forces with fellow inventor Ian Davies to develop a button fastening aid called the Billian, which helps elderly and disabled people get dressed more quickly.

Daughter Maureen Valentine, of Blackburn, paid tribute to a ‘fabulous dad and fabulous grandad’.

She said: “He was a very clever man right to the very end and always had little projects going and kept himself busy.

“He was happy-go-lucky and never had a bad word to say about anyone and spoke to everyone that walked past his house.

“Dad was a very caring man who will be missed by many people, especially his family.”

Last year, Mr Austin met neighbour Amanda who offered her help during snowy winter weather. She got to know the wordsmith and helped him type up his poems into the book.

Amanda said: “I will miss him dearly. It won’t be the same on our street without Bill.”

Mr Austin was also a regular at Shadsworth Community Centre where he regularly read poems to other centre users.

Rachel Clark from the centre said: “He will be sadly missed. We all got on really well with him.”

Mr Austin’s funeral is at Skerton Cemetery in Lancaster on Wednesday at 2pm.

Comments (7)

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3:36pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Bankser says...

How nice to read such a lovely and genuine testimony...........
..they don't make like this these days!!!! Will have a look for his book, must be worth a read.
How nice to read such a lovely and genuine testimony........... ..they don't make like this these days!!!! Will have a look for his book, must be worth a read. Bankser
  • Score: 9

4:05pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Mothernature says...

Over the years, I've read and kept many of the pieces Bill had published in the LT. Such a shame to never again add his poetry to my collection. RIP Bill.
Over the years, I've read and kept many of the pieces Bill had published in the LT. Such a shame to never again add his poetry to my collection. RIP Bill. Mothernature
  • Score: 10

7:30pm Fri 29 Aug 14

ossym says...

RIP Sir.
The stairaid, great idea, looked up his web page, got details of stairaid plus his poems.
Well done Mr Austin, you were a credit to the town. When the going gets tough, the tough get creative.

http://www.billausti
n.co.uk
RIP Sir. The stairaid, great idea, looked up his web page, got details of stairaid plus his poems. Well done Mr Austin, you were a credit to the town. When the going gets tough, the tough get creative. http://www.billausti n.co.uk ossym
  • Score: 6

7:31pm Fri 29 Aug 14

tulipsno1 says...

Rest in peace bill will be sadly missed by many in the community of shadsworth xx
Rest in peace bill will be sadly missed by many in the community of shadsworth xx tulipsno1
  • Score: 7

11:19am Sat 30 Aug 14

sammy37 says...

How sad I am , this man was the most true and lovely person. When he and Betty came into the retail shop I worked in it was an education.
Reunited Bill and Betty.xxxxx
How sad I am , this man was the most true and lovely person. When he and Betty came into the retail shop I worked in it was an education. Reunited Bill and Betty.xxxxx sammy37
  • Score: 4

11:32am Sat 30 Aug 14

inventorian says...

The remaining copies of Bills book will be available for a donation to the Local Hospice at his service on Tuesday at the Cooperative on Mincing Lane.
The remaining copies of Bills book will be available for a donation to the Local Hospice at his service on Tuesday at the Cooperative on Mincing Lane. inventorian
  • Score: 3

11:01am Thu 4 Sep 14

JoeGregory says...

RIP Bill. I feel privileged to know your legacy of words will live on in print - it was a pleasure working on your book and comforting to read the first poem in it...

PARADISE by Bill Austin

My eyes were closed, and then
I heard the sweetest music ever.
It tempted me to take a look
As the coaxing was quite clever.
I thought I saw someone I knew
That made me look around:
Contentment showed on every face,
So tranquil the surround.
The music soft and gentle
Induced a sense of peace;
Unique the instrumental –
I prayed it would not cease.
An acceptable fraternity
Which could not be denied,
When suddenly it dawned on me
I had not known I’d died.
RIP Bill. I feel privileged to know your legacy of words will live on in print - it was a pleasure working on your book and comforting to read the first poem in it... PARADISE by Bill Austin My eyes were closed, and then I heard the sweetest music ever. It tempted me to take a look As the coaxing was quite clever. I thought I saw someone I knew That made me look around: Contentment showed on every face, So tranquil the surround. The music soft and gentle Induced a sense of peace; Unique the instrumental – I prayed it would not cease. An acceptable fraternity Which could not be denied, When suddenly it dawned on me I had not known I’d died. JoeGregory
  • Score: 1
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