Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Dickie’s Wish

Dickie continued to pop in to Beavers Lane weekly to see our family on a regular basis. He was a bit of a loner and I guess he saw something genuine in our family as he visited twice weekly on average. He would sit in the kitchen talking to my mother who cooked him his “egg & chips” supper.
Dickie had a public school education, probably a bit gay in today’s terminology, although he never made any approaches to me in that sense. He lived his life the way he wanted to and was most passionate about his cars. I remember him telling my mother one evening over his usual “egg and chips” supper that his dying wish would be to be driving his Porsche 911, YOU 4 on a racetrack when his time was up. Whether he knew something was imminent or perhaps his time was up I am not sure as a few weeks away when this all became fact.
Ginger had called us at home from Croft in Yorkshire late on Sunday evening on 19th May 1968, to say that Dickie had died earlier in the day from a massive heart attack during the race, had crashed in the race and died. We had heard the news already as it was on the television news earlier that evening.
Apparently, during the third lap of race, number four of the club event, Dickie suffered a coronary thrombosis at the wheel of his silver Porsche 911S. The car mounted the banking at the exit to Barcroft, rolled and crashed through fencing.
Ginger who was with him at the time, told us over the telephone that he was coping although still in shock. Six hours later after making his statement to the police, he was back home with us in Hounslow, having driven Dickie’s BMW 2002Ti home from Croft non-stop. The police had kept the Porsche 911S as there was an inquest to be held into Dickie’s death.
My mother remarked that he had got his wish, which in an odd way was some comfort to us all. We all sat up all night long mourning dear Dickie who was only 47 years old.
I remember Bill Bates telling me some years later that Dickie had always had a weak heart condition and had bribed a doctor up the road from AFN in Isleworth, to pass him fit for his annual racing driving license medical. I asked Bill, “How did Dickie bribe this Doctor?” and Bill told me, “Dickie gave the doctor a couple of bottles of Single Malt”, which knowing Dickie, was probable only half of the story! 
I look back on my limited months spent with Richard “Dickie” Stoop with great fondness and I was very lucky to have met a real gentleman. He had taken me under his wing and to my first motor race as mechanic and given me considerable responsibility at a very tender age. He let me drive my first Porsche and left a lasting impression on me, which would influence my whole life.
Chris Maltin subsequently took over Dickie’s number plate YOU 4 which he put on his Guards red 1969 Porsche 911T.

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