This is My Life 2009/10


I was Born Andrew Leo Dyke, Leo being a family name on my Fathers side, 2/7/1952, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. I have one sister, Sheila 2.5 years older than me. Both my parents had the same surname, although not related in any way. My grandparents on my mothers side came from Surrey and my Father’s from Hertfordshire.

I was not very good at school, I didn’t like it and it did not like me. Parkway 1st school in Welwyn Garden City. One day while at this school the teacher told me to leave the room. I misunderstood the instruction and left the school and went home causing great concern as I could then not be found.  Next school was Applecroft. 11 Plus in those days to get to Grammar school. I was deemed not even bright enough to take the exam!. Went to Heronswood Secondary. 5 GCSE exams middle score, except Art got grade 2. I was good at art. Did all the usual boys will be boys stuff. You could get caned in those days and it hurt! Was a Cub and then moved onto the Scouts. Did not get on to well, even then, I knew I liked a bit of luxury and camping was not my thing. 

I Left school at 16 and went to work in London’s Bond Street for Wallace Heaton, photographic suppliers to the Royal family. £6 pounds 10 shillings a week before tax!. Mr Nicholson my first boss in the stock room. I had a nice brown coat and did all the running around. I loved it. After 3 months I as promoted to work in the shop. Wallace Heaton branch in Euston Station. I had made it!. Enjoyed serving the public, being helpful. Next came promotion to assistant manager at a concession store in Cardiff. This meant leaving home, difficult at first, no Mum to do for me. Diggs were with Miss Wiggins. My own room, breakfast, dinner and full board on Sunday. 7 guineas a week. My wages were £15.00 pw. Great times. Next move was to Cheltenham branch, this time as manager. Year now 1973ish. Cheltenham branch was inside Cavendish House and I met Wendy my wife here. I also made some good friends, some of whom we still see regularly.

Married in 1975 at Cheltenham Reg office. 2 day honeymoon in Banbury. God knows why Banbury. We were now living in Bath. Bought first own house. 3 bed semi, £8000 purchase price. Dixons had taken over Wallace Heaton and I had been promoted to Manager of my own branch of Dixons in Bath. Next promotion was to Portsmouth, then Dixons largest store. Wendy and I moved to Waterlooville, just outside Portsmouth. Both our sons James (1977) and Brian (1979) were born there. They were both born at home. Wendy was not going to have her children in hospital! 

In the early 1980’s I decide a change of Companies and direction was required. After a very short career with Tesco, boy was that a mistake, I joined a company called Intercity Cameras. New job, branch manager, new branch selling photographic equipment in Liverpool. For some months I was working in Liverpool during the week, rerturning to Portsmouth each weekend. that was a long drive, in a rattling old car. I was never quite sure if I would make it. 18 months later and promotion to area manager in London looking after 8 stores. Away all week, stayed with Mum and Dad in WGC and traveled to London each day. Then back to Liverpool on the weekends. Missed my family, did not enjoy the job or being away all week. Things changed when I was made Sales Director of the company and the family were all living together in High Wycombe.

Now enjoying life again. A year or so later and I left the company to move into photographic distribution and I became a rep on the road. Hard work but very rewarding and very well paid. These were the heady eighties. Our next house move was to Stratford upon Avon. Smashing house 5 bedrooms. This house came with a long garden and a rear entrance from another road. Getting together with our next door neighbours we got planning permission to build 2 houses on the bottom of the garden. We sold our big house and moved into our small house at the bottom of the garden. A friend of ours at the time said the house was so small, the front and back doors were on the same hinge.

During this time I moved to another distribution company before teaming up with work colleague and friend of nearly 20 years Mike Taylor and opened That Camera Place in Bridge Street Evesham, in 1990. 2 More branches followed, Bicster and Abingdon. In February 2006, Mike and I sold the company to Jessops and we both continued to work for them. I am taking a career break to be Chairman, returning to full time work in 2010.

In 1992 we moved to our present house in Evesham. Almost as soon as I came to Evesham I got involved with local organizations. Chamber of Commerce, VETA, later both combined to become VECTA and then later on in 1999 was co-opted onto the Town Council. Re-elected in 2003 and 2007. In 2004/5 I had the honour of being elected as Mayor of Evesham.

In December 2005 our Granddaughter Holly was born and she is growing up to be real joy and has enriched both our lives so much. She and her parents live locally so we see a great deal of her, which is wonderful.

Wendy was born in Herefordshire. Emigrated to Canada as a child, returned to the UK and moved to various locations, ending up in Cheltenham in the 1970’s. Wendy was a bit of a nomad and Moore House, Evesham was her 24th home! That was in 1992 and it is now the longest she and I have lived anywhere. That must say something for Evesham and we truly love the place.

 If I had a mission statement it would go like this:-

Learning from our history, Committed to our future, constantly striving to improve the place I call home.

 Other Council resposibilities

Evesham Town Council, I was Mayor of Evesham 2004/5

 What made me stand as an elected Member?

I had been a member of many local organisations including business and charity and had enjoyed ‘being involved’. I was asked to put my name forward for Evesham Town Council in a co-option process by Councillor John Smith. ( so, it’s all his fault! )

 My priorities for Wychavon?

Wychavon and Evesham in particular, are wonderful places to live and work. I want to keep it that way. I take it personally when someone knocks what we have here and like to do what I can to make life better for everybody. I am very interested in promotion and one major way to attract people to the area, be it business or tourism is constant improvement and never being complacent with what we have.

How do I spend your free time?

I am a very keen narrowboater and am lucky enough to have my own narrowboat called Lord Toulouse. Lord Toulouse has a big place in Evesham’s history. I wanted to call the boat, something unique with a local connection and oh, yes, she has 2 loo’s. I like computing and the internet. I have my own website.  I like travel, seeing other cultures and meeting new people. I am involved and have enjoyed photography for most of my life and still enjoy taking pictures. I enjoy eating out and socialising with friends. I like a glass of wine or two. Golf, although I do not get the time to play well. TV and favourite Coronation Street.

For a bit more about me click here :-  Portrays a very good reflection of mayoral life.

In 2000, I stood in a by election for the district Council and won the seat in Bengeworth ward. In 2004 I moved to Little Hampton Ward and was again reelected with an increased majority of 100. In 2007 we stood again in Little Hampton and this time I was joined by Wendy my wife. We are are now both District Councillors for the Little Hampton ward. Wendy is very interested in development control and we work fantastically well as a team.


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