It is with great sadness that I report the passing of a friend. He will be greatly missed by his family and all who knew him.
Jim Shreeve was one of the city’s most experienced, competent and expert floor layers. It seems to me (joining the trade in the 70's) that Jim had been laying carpets, tiles and vinyls, domestic and contract, forever. There certainly was no job, however complicated or involved, out of his area of ability or expertise. Even in the early eighties he was the man from whom others sought advice when complication set in. As for domestic work its very likely that, if you live in or near Derby, Jim Shreeve once visited the house you live in and fitted a carpet or vinyl. Chances are he was training someone else at the same time. Over the long years it has so often been Jim that we have phoned to seek advice about problems; a damp floor, a 'special adhesive, vinyl seaming and welding and so much more. Other flooring fitters in the East Midlands would also look to him for help when the going got tough and he was always willing to offer it.
His knowledge and skills were in demand further afield too. Jim worked all over this country, and regularly headed teams of fitters, in Norway, France and the Middle East to name a few abroad. More recently he was, despite claiming to be retired, in demand in Scotland on a regular basis. There are not many individual fitters who's skills are so well honed and abilities trusted that a customer is prepared to pay that much extra for travel and accommodation to retain them. In fact, although Jim eagerly embraced and mastered every development in flooring over the years there may well be many skills and “tricks of the trade” that pass with him.
Jim was a big man and could never be accused of being a shy and retiring person. He had an opinion about most things and a deliberate, considered way of introducing that opinion, through personal anecdote, for debate. Daily visits to the shops would begin with gambits such as, “Do you know what I have just seen...?”, or “Now I know you are against capital punishment but....”. A five minute story, followed by another five minutes debate would follow, Jim was already clear about how to deal with the ill begotten miscreants who had offended his sense of world order. Or, in fact, he had, indeed, already dealt with them. As years went by we found less and less with which to argue. (Save, perhaps, his unbending loyalty to a Notts Forest.) Jim should, in fact, have been in charge.
Perhaps, now, he may be using his influence in putting the world to rights from above. I hope so.
His funeral is on the morning of Friday 23rd December, 2011.
This shop will be shut.