Henry tells of his love for skiing and his commitment to helping disabled people learn to ski. He feels completely at home in Glasgow and is very satisfied with his life there.
INT: Yeah, such is life. Henry can I ask you about something you haven’t mentioned but I know is the love of your life – your skiing?
H.W: Yes, well, I have, let me put it that way. I have skied since the age of eleven or twelve and then of course I came here and then war broke out and things were difficult but I’ve always skied.
Funnily enough, I will show you something in a minute. Because you mentioned skiing I’ll show you afterwards. So I’ve always skied. I want to show you a picture, it must be 1949 – there, I was married ’44, ’49, ’47, even during the war. There’s snow, it was snowing so I said ‘Ingrid we need to go skiing’
You know what, I had nothing. We went to a shop, we hired skis, we hired, gear we had, we hired skis. We skied in Linn Park and people looked at us, you know.
‘Can we take a photo?’- wait until you see the photographs, they’re funny. So we’ve always skied, this is, I mean winter to me is important.
INT: You and Ingrid?
H.W: Yes, oh yes and eventually I, in Aviemore, (we used to go to Aviemore to Grantown on Spey in New Year time with the children) and eventually I saw a ski bike or a skibob in a shop and I said ‘what’s this?’ and I tried it out on the [snowy] golf course and I liked it and I used it extensively here and then I went abroad with this ski bike. I didn’t know abroad there were other people and then I didn’t know there was British Skibob Association, which I’d joined
INT: A skibob is that?
H.W: A Skibob Association yes and eventually I (about twenty five/thirty years ago) I then got in touch with… through skiing, you know, you get to know people.
I’ve skied with the blind, I’ve skied with this and I got to know, British Limbless Ex-Serviceman Association and I’ve been with [them], I’m associate with them for thirty years now. I became their chief instructor
INT: Of skiing?
H.W: And we had these amputees and we go every year, we still go. We’re going next year
INT: Where to?
H.W: We have a place. We go to the Öetztal in Austria with a group of amputees every winter this is my life.
I mean this is, and then not only that, all my family ski. All the grandchildren ski, all the children ski, well, I’ve only two daughters and two sons-in-law and four grandsons and we’ve been going skiing for over thirty years as a family every winter. Alright, somebody, now and again somebody drops out because of exams but we go, late, between England and Scotland to get university and school dates together is very difficult for eleven people. But we have gone as a family for [over 35 years]
INT: Where do you go to?
H.W: Where do we go now? [For] the past 18 years we’ve gone to Verbier in Switzerland
H.W: Every year, this is absolutely
INT: Am I right, have you been awarded the MBE was it, for your service
H.W: Yes, I’ve been awarded the MBE for, for sport for disabled people
H.W: So that, that gives me greatest pleasure
H.W: To be, to get an MBE for something you, you have done yourself.
Not, there’s also such a thing as the OBE you know but what people say ‘it’s a higher grade’ but it’s, it’s very rude to say that. The MBE is my own business and OBE is other people’s bloody business! You get kicked upstairs.
No, I’m very, I’m very proud of that because that’s something, you know, you’ve done yourself and I appreciate it
INT: So the question here is, if you look back now on your time in Scotland what are the highs that stand out for you?
H.W: Well the high is to establish yourself here and have a family and be together with a family and I had a good career here, certainly the Jewish community helped.
The catering was successful and not only that, it’s, I’m fairly happy here; it’s a nice place to be. I find I’ve, Glasgow’s a good place to be. You are near mountains and the sea and people are kind and people say to you ‘When you retire where you going to move to? To Spain? Or to Malta?’
I said ‘No’ I said ‘I’m sorry, I live here, I belong here, my family’s here. I go to these places certainly but I belong here and I’m perfectly happy here’ No desire to go anywhere else
INT: Are there any lows?
H.W: Yes, well there are bound to be, yes. Obviously
INT: Work, family, community?
H.W: Oh, aye. Well not so many family lows, no. But one just shows you what can happen to you. When I was in the Beresford Hotel we got a huge consignment of salami in or something and nobody wanted it and everybody was given one, well take one home, yes.
Nevertheless, I took one, whatever. But ‘You stole something’, yes. I got the sack.
Yeah, well, fine. Well, I wouldn’t, there was no charge or anything like that but you, you were sacked immediately so that, you have to be careful; these things can happen
INT: Although they’d invited you to take; had others taken it?
H.W: Yes, others had taken it
INT: And they weren’t sacked?
H.W: Yes, so yes we were all sacked
INT: Oh I see
H.W: Yes, oh yes. Yes that was, that taught me – be careful, yes
H.W: Be very careful what you, what you do. You can easily, you can easily fall into problems. But there weren’t, I can’t say, there weren’t many lows
INT: Thank you very much Henry that was excellent
INT: Thank you very much
H.W: Thank you