Posted on Aug 15, 2019 in Editorial.
LifeBook founder Roy Moëd and members of the Spriggs LifeBook production team went to visit Mr. Geoffrey Spriggs at his business Spriggs Florists to personally deliver the copies of his private autobiography and to interview him about his LifeBook experience. The floristry store is situated in Petworth, West Sussex, just a few miles from the LifeBook office in Godalming, Surrey, and its beautiful garden provided the perfect setting for this special event.
Everyone at LifeBook would like to sincerely thank Mr. Spriggs and his whole family for allowing us to film in the shop and the garden. We hope that we didn’t cause too much havoc and that the champagne compensated for the disruption.
This was no surprise visit, as we had already arranged the delivery of his books with Mr Spriggs many weeks beforehand. Nevertheless, his emotional reaction to seeing his finished autobiography for the first time was unexpected and also reminded us as to why we do this.
“It was a privilege to help create Mr Spriggs’ autobiography and a real delight to present his books at Spriggs Florist. Mr Spriggs’ reaction to seeing his completed book for the first-time bears testament to the fact that his whole LifeBook experience was very special indeed.
“Spending the afternoon with Mr and Mrs Spriggs in the beautiful setting of their garden was fantastic. Many thanks to Mr and Mrs Spriggs for their hospitality; I hope that Remember Me for Where I’ve Been will continue to be enjoyed by all the family for years to come.”
“Becoming completely speechless is often the first reaction we have from our authors. The delight on Mr Spriggs’ face when he was handed his book and the hundreds of testimonials we receive only serve to confirm why I originally started LifeBook. While we can’t present everyone’s private autobiography to them personally, we love to do so whenever we can.”
How did you hear about LifeBook?
I heard from two sources before I contacted them. The first was a friend in the BBC, who was doing some research about the displacement of people after the First World War. While I was answering his questions, I mentioned how I’d like to put my recollections into a book. He said, “There is company on your doorstep called LifeBook who could do that for you.”
The second was from a part timer in the shop who writes poetry. She has had her work published and, in our conversation, I asked for her advice. She, too, directed me to LifeBook.
What was the motivation for writing your private autobiography?
Mainly, it was because I have been shocked at how little the younger generation knows about the war years; for example, the Cenotaph and the Blitz. We used to run outside to see the planes and sometimes there were so many, we couldn’t see the sky. That is something we will never see again. Two people from Petworth were dropped in Arnhem during the Second World War and survived but people don’t have clue about that.
I also wanted to tell my family about my life, not because I think my life has been all that amazing, but I’d like them to know one or two of my more interesting stories. For instance, many years ago, I met the Queen while working at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen came home unexpectedly and found us still on the job, whereas usually we had to clean up and leave before she arrived. She and I spoke for a moment and, unfortunately, Her Majesty complained about the length of time the work was taking. I replied, “It’s quite likely I’ll end up in the tower for this, but the problem is you, Your Majesty.”
I went on to explain that constantly having to clean up before she arrived was the biggest delay, plus there were only four of us doing the work. Nowadays, they would have called in a massive construction company to do it.
When Her Majesty returned, 15 minutes after this conversation, she told us, “Well, this isn’t going to happen again, so you men just carry on. I don’t mind getting my feet wet, you just carry on with the work.”
She asked me to work seven days a week, but I had a young family, with my son and my newborn daughter. Boldly, I asked for Sundays off and her reply was, “Well, why don’t you bring your son up here? I’d like to meet him.” I did take my son, so he met the Queen and we had a 10-minute conversation with her.
What was it like to work with LifeBook?
“Well I think LifeBook got so much out of me. I emphasised it all the time that everyone working there ought to have gold stars.
What was your family’s reaction when you told them about your project?
I don’t know what they thought and I’ll either give the book to them right now or after I’m gone. I’m still thinking about it, but I have friends in Scotland who will probably have me hanged, drawn and quartered if I don’t let them read it soon.
How do you think the future generations of your family will receive your book?
Well, I think there will be shock. Life was very different in my day, and the education system won’t ever tell them the kinds of stories I have included in my book.”
Now that you’ve seen your LifeBook, what do you think of the book itself?
I’m emotional. To see it, to know that it’s done and is actually here is amazing. I’m particularly impressed with the quality of the pictures. Some of them are from 1895 and now there they are in my book, shown with such clarity. I’m really looking forward to reading my own book now. In fact, I can’t wait!
Do you think you could have done this without LifeBook?
Honestly, no. Definitely not.