He was a familiar sight around Nailsworth, in his flat cap and anorak, calling out across the bus station his special names for the town’s residents: Flip-flop Queen, Butcher Queen, Builder King – the list was endless.

In turn, most of his friends simply knew him as Mike: always around (unless on one of his regular bus trips to Gloucester); always talking in rhyming riddles.

So when it was announced on the Nailsworth Chat & Information Facebook page last November that one of the town’s most loved characters had died, the outpouring of grief was unprecedented.

Now people are getting together to raise funds for a bench in honour of Michael Goodall, which they hope will be sited in Mortimer Gardens.

His sister, Lyn Scudamore, says she and the family have been overwhelmed by the affectionate messages she’s received about Mike – and thrilled that many have expressed a wish to celebrate his life.

“Michael used to frequent Mortimer Gardens on a daily basis and chat with so many people there,” she said. “It would be wonderful to have a focal point that would be a special place for his family and friends alike to sit, chat and share our individual memories of him.

"The family feel honoured that the community wish to remember him in such a way.”

Michael was 21 when he and his family moved from Harrogate to Nailsworth in the early 60s. He began work at

John Brown Engineering in Bath Road, Stroud, where he stayed for 16 years, followed by spells of employment with other engineering companies: Cameron Ironworks, Woodchester, and Fluid Transfer in Nailsworth.

He had a love of animals and spent time working at a local pig and chicken farm, never happier than out of doors. For many years, he bred budgerigars and finches.

Other hobbies included fishing and gardening, cultivating salad stuff and vegetables - more often than not giving the majority away to friends and


Michael and bicycles were a strong partnership. He cycled everywhere until, approaching his 70th birthday, the steep hills of the Five Valleys, combined with endless punctures, helped him decide it was time to ditch the bike and take to public transport.

Nailsworth residents would see him on a daily basis, early in the morning, waiting for the bus to set off on his travels. Very much a creature of habit, he maintained a regular routine, visiting local traders and chatting to everyone he met as he walked around Nailsworth.

As to his nicknames – always based on pinpoint observations – not even the previous vicar of St George’s escaped. “Michael would call out across the bus station to the ‘Vicar of Dibley’ who, of course, always laughed and responded,” Lyn said.

“We are all so proud of him being the unique personality he was. Irreplaceable and utterly memorable. As one person said to me, ‘He genuinely made me feel the world was two shades brighter. Nailsworth is a smaller place without him’.”

The bench is not the only way Mike will be remembered. There’s also a tablecloth being embroidered with the special names he had for Nailsworth locals. So, along with Mike himself, the Tap Dancing Queen, Miss Penguin, the Laptop King – and innumerable others – will live on.

If you enjoy stitching, you can contribute to the tablecloth, which is kept at the Town Information Centre in Nailsworth Library.

Please leave any cash donations for the bench with Paddy Coyle at Nailsworth Computer Shop in George Street, where funds will be collected and formally audited.