Article from press (2).(re John Grantham)

Author: 
Claire elliot
Year: 
2005

 

ECCENTRIC INVENTOR WAS A ONE-OFF, SAYS FAMILY

 CLAIRE ELLIOT

09:00 - 29 March 2005

An Eccentric inventor who spent the last few years making toys for a new cartoon, based on his two pet cows, has lost his battle against cancer.

John Grantham, whose Highland cattle Clootie and Dumpling, are poised to be the next worldwide craze in children's cartoons, died at his Aberdeenshire home on Friday, with his family by his side.

The 62-year-old, who had part of his kidney removed as result of a tumour two-and-a-half years ago, was diagnosed with secondary bone cancer at the end of last year.

Mr Grantham, from Kemnay, never liked to broadcast his illness and few people knew how serious his condition was.

He loved publicity, however, and will forever be remembered for his inventions, which among others, include upstairs fire escape routes for his cats and a steam-driven walking stick for his sister.

His wife Suzie, of 21 years, said there was no better word to describe him other than "unique".

She said: "We were married 21 years and I don't think I have hit the ground yet. There was never a dull moment. I had a wonderful life with him. He was eccentric and a gentleman and there will never ever be anyone else like him.

"He was just a unique person. There is not anything else you could say that sums him up in a better word. Everyone liked him and he never said a bad word about anyone. He saw the best of everything and the best in everyone."

Mr Grantham, who started his career as an apprentice engineer in the Royal Navy in 1957 became a helicopter pilot in 1964. Much of his time was spent travelling to Europe and the Middle East and until September last year he was a pilot for the Saudi Arabian royal family.

During this time he also came up with various inventions, including his award-winning Easisteer shopping trolley steering device.

In the last few years, however, working with Mallard Media Services, on the cartoon based on his pet bulls, 'Was the best thing in the world" to him. The series, Over The Moon, is written by former Grampian TV presenter Margaret Donald.

Mrs Grantham, 55, said: "He made the prototypes for the toys in between being a helicopter pilot for the Saudi royal family. He used to work from March until September and for the other five months he would spend a lot of his time in his workshop."

His daughter, Sacha Needham, 34, said her father had a great sense of humour and always made time for everyone. She added: "It was always an adventure with dad. You couldn't just go for a walk in the woods without it being turned into an adventure."

Even a picnic was no ordinary event, she explained, as nothing less would do than for him to travel into the country with his Rolls Royce, Rosie, equipped with a wooden table, checkered table cloth, picnic basket and chilled Champagne. She added: "He had a lovely aura.

Mr Grantham, who won Scottish Inventor of the Year award in 1990, was also involved with Remap, an organisation which helps design gadgets for disabled people.

Mrs Grantham said: "He just helped so many people and he just loved to do things that were different.

She added: 'There have been a lot of tears since he died but there has also been a lot of laughter because when you think of something he did it makes you laugh."

Mr Grantham, who is also survived by his son Andrew and four grandchildren, Eloise, six, Lauren, four, Laila, four, and Joe, three, is to be cremated alongside an A4 pad and pencil, as he was always jotting down ideas.
A celebration of his life will be held at Aberdeen crematorium's west chapel on Friday at 11.05am. Donations can be made in lieu of flowers to the RNLI, of which Mr Grantham was a lifelong supporter.