“The doctors says he’s a mongol.”

I vividly recall the words of my dad in the hall of our house that day in Lincoln in 1960, the shock, although I hardly understood the term.

“They could be wrong, couldn’t they?”

I hadn’t the heart to say what I felt – it was unlikely they were wrong, and they weren’t.

So Nicky grew up with what soon became known as Down’s Syndrome, a fairly common chromosome deficiency.

I soon went to university and Nicky grew up and lived most of his adult years with mum and dad. I have the impression he was not very advanced compared to some with Down’s, who have quite a reasonable IQ. He was always academically very limited , with limited language. But he had a big heart, and the whole family grew to love him – he was an important part of us.

I say ‘was’ because he died yesterday, soon after we all enjoyed his 56th birthday – apparently a fairly typical life span. Not unexpected as he’d developed Alzheimer’s.

He gave us all a lot… playing ball, walking, games, a great love of music, dance, slapstick comedy… Always first on and last off the disco floor! And wasn’t it hilarious when something went wrong!

We’ll miss you, Nicky.