Page 6 - HGS Suburb News 149 - March 2022
P. 6

S U B U R B                                                      Michael                  talks he gave at Joseph’s, the
                                                                                                               former bookshop in Temple
                                                                                                               Fortune. Though a lifelong disability
                                                                                      Shamash                  rights campaigner, Michael never
                                                                                                               allowed himself to be defined by
                                                                                                               his disability.
                                                                                                                  One of Michael’s passions
                                                                                                               was with the Trabant car, the
                                                                                      1958 - 2021              signature vehicle of communist
                                                                                                               East Germany. This fascination
                                                                                                               led to a Radio 4 series of a car
                                                                                                               journey he made with his old
                                 Photo: Peter Hasenson                               NAOMI ANGELL              school friend, Will Self, in a beat
                                                                                                               up Trabant. The road trip started
                                  Alec                     power, Alec’s father saw the writing  M transport enthusiast and  at BBC HQ in Portland Place
                                                                                          ichael Shamash, disability
                                                                                                               ending at the Trabant factory in
                                                                                           rights campaigner,
                                                           on the wall. Alec recalled seeing
                                                                                                               Zwickau in the former East
                                                           the stormtroopers marching in the
                                  Hasenson                 neighbourhood and not under-  Suburb resident died unexpectedly  Germany. Will, at almost twice
                                                                                     at the age of 63, after a routine
                                                                                                               Michael’s height, had to learn to
                                                           standing why his mother pulled
                                                           him inside, forbidding him to
                                                           watch the soldiers parading down  operation on 23 September 2021.  slow down to keep to Michael’s
                                                                                                               pace. “Simply slowing down to
                                                                                        Although small in stature (3
                                                           the street. Not long after, the  foot 6 inches in his cotton socks),  accompany him began to teach
                                  1927 - 2021              family moved to England, settling  Michael had a very big personality  me a little of the patience that
                                                           in Hendon Central, and Alec was
                                                                                                               must be essential if you’re a
                                                                                     and presence in the lives of those
                                                           enrolled in the local school. He  who knew him. A Suburb resident,  disabled person trying to
                                                           didn’t speak a word of English  Michael grew up in Winnington  negotiate an abled world.” Will
                                PETER HASENSON             and this, coupled with the fact he  Road and spent the last decade of  recalls how Michael, who couldn’t
                                                           was German, meant he had to  his life in Hampstead Way where he  really sit on the passenger seat
                                    general medical practitioner,  fend off the bullies by showing  lived with his partner Helen and  only prop himself against it, never
                                     an author, a steam train  them the one magic trick he had  their adored daughter Lydia who,  uttered a word of complaint.
                                A and Pullman coach        managed to master. The    at only two, is already a feisty  Michael was a font of wisdom
                                enthusiast, a collector of stamps,  disappearing coin trick seemed to  personality, taking after her dad.  about the things that make living
                                an encyclopaedic knowledge of  work and he was accepted.  Michael attended University  in the Suburb special. For those
                                the history of Dover harbour, an  Shortly after settling in  College School and read sociology  who recall the Temple Fortune of
                                expert on the American Civil War,  Hendon, war broke out and Alec  and politics at Warwick University  the 1970s, Michael loved to
                                a military historian, a lifelong  and his mother were evacuated to  before joining Camden Council as  reminisce about the interior decor
                                diarist, an avid collector of post-  the Lake District for the duration  a social work assistant. Later he  of Capriccio’s Italian restaurant,
                                cards and stationery, a keen  of the war. Alec recalled wonderful  completed an MA in criminology  Lindy’s patisserie or the layout of
                                photographer, a cataloguer of post  memories of happy schooldays  at Middlesex University.  Kendrick’s Toy Shop. Temple
                                boxes, a talented violinist. These  filled with lessons, one inspiring  At Camden Council Michael  Fortune Waitrose’s long term
                                were just some of Alec’s passions.  teacher and plenty of sports.  was active in NALGO – the union  employee, Jim Driscoll, recalls
                                   Dr Benjamin Alexander (Alec)  Alec was a dedicated student  that later became Unison. A former  Michael lighting the shop up with
                                Hasenson was born in 1927 on  and on his return to London after  colleague, Rory Heap, said “He  his beaming smile and cheeky
                                16th December in Hamburg,  the war, continued his studies  always had the right things to say.  sense of humour. Waitrose staff
                                Germany. When Hitler came to  finally qualifying in Medicine at  He could discuss disability in ways  regularly wheeled Michael’s
                                                           the Royal Free Hospital Medical  that didn’t make people feel  shopping trolly home for him and
                                                           School in 1958.           awkward. He had a huge impact  when they heard of his death
                                                             His whole working life was  on perceptions of disability.” Rory  announced it to all staff and
                                                           spent serving the community of  and Michael joined forces as shop  customers in the shop that day.
                                                           Stoke Newington as a GP.  stewards for the local branch of  Michael cared deeply about his
                                                             In 1955 Alec was introduced  NALGO, where Michael was  surroundings and had little time
                                                           to Pat Phillips at a party. He was  passionate about social justice  for those in positions of power who
                                                           smitten. They married in 1957  and worked hard to represent the  failed to contribute to making our
                                                           at Alyth Gardens synagogue,  interests of Camden Council staff.  neighbourhoods better for all of us.
                                                           eventually settling in the Suburb,  For several years Michael  Will Self describes Michael as
                                                           first in Blandford Close and then  chaired the Restricted Growth  a charismatic man – good-looking
                                                           in Linden Lea. There Alec and Pat  Association and was a director of  and a charmer – who deployed
                                                           enjoyed many years of Suburb  the disability advocacy organisation,  these characteristics to pave his
                                                           life, their four children attending  Shaping Our Lives. Michael also  way in an often hostile world.
                                                           local Suburb schools – Kerem  lectured and wrote on disability at  He was all of these things and
                                                           House Nursery then Brookland  Middlesex and Bedford universities.  so much more. He will be deeply
                                 ‘My favourite view of the Suburb’  Infant and Junior Schools.  He will also be remembered for  missed by Helen, Lydia and the
                                 (Photo: Alec Hasenson)      As a keen photographer,  the entertaining and challenging  rest of his family and many friends.
                                                           Alec took many thousands of
                                                           photographs of the Suburb and
                              We are very happy to come out to meet  HGS events developing his black
                                 you and your relatives to discuss our
                                                  services.  and white photos himself in his
                                                           home dark room. Many of his
                                  Please call us at any time for more  photographs are being digitised
                              information about how we can help you.
                                                           and will eventually be uploaded
               0208 064 0240  onto the HGS Virtual Museum’s
                                                           archives for everyone to enjoy.
                                                           The photographs make a wonderful
                                 We are extremely proud to support  visual record of how the Suburb
          Outings & activities
                                  older people in our community to  has changed (or not) over the past
          Household tasks      live independently in their own homes.  50 years. Some were recently
          Medication support         Our team is passionate about  circulated on the HGS List
          Wellbeing               delivering the highest standard of  prompting many shared memories
                                 care and will always go above and  and stories between residents.
          Dementia care
                                      beyond to help our clients.  Alec will always be remembered
          Personal care
                                                           with huge respect and will be
                                                           missed greatly. As his children
                                                           recall he was one of those people
                                                           who always saw the good in
                                                           others. Family was the heart and
                                                           soul of his life. Long after Alec
                                                           became deaf and couldn’t hear
                                                           the lively Friday night and Sunday
                                                           lunch chatter around the dining
                                                           room table, he would sit and
                                                           smile at everyone, holding small
                                                           conversations with whoever was
                                                           sitting either side of him.  Photo: a family friend
      6                                                                         SUBURB NEWS IS PRODUCED AND DELIVERED TO YOU BY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION VOLUNTEERS
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