Following the recent death of Eric Brooks in Dorset at the age of 90, Alan Connell, Bournemouth & Poole FMB Branch Secretary pays tribute to a builder who gave years of dedication to the FMB both at local and national and regional levels. Eric moved from Norwich to Dorset just after the Second World War and made his home Poole. He turned his hands to most things and soon established his building company ‘Brooks Builders’ as one of the front runners in Poole where house building boom was taking place. Indeed an area called Hamworthy was mostly established by Eric’s company.
Eric always liked to promote and help the progress of others and joined the FMB as soon as he was able and he established some of the branches that exist today on the South Coast. Broadening his expertise, Eric quickly realised that builders’ waste products were difficult to dispose of so he purchased ‘holes in the ground’ on a massive scale and set up the first tipping waste pits in Dorset. In those days, lorries and vans formed an endless stream of vehicles using the pits and Eric was never happier than driving a bulldozer, landscaping the waste that came in. Eric then decided waste was good and bought a skip hire business and ‘Brooks Skips’ became a prominent sight on the Dorset roads. The Poole Tyre Company was another diversion from his building division. All these businesses that Eric enjoyed passionately were used regularly by most members of the local FMB branch and Eric was very generous with his time, helping others around him in order to better their own companies. Eric will be remembered by us in his Bournemouth & Poole FMB branch for his tenacity and leadership with regard to local building. Eric was stoic in his beliefs and passionate that the FMB should serve every member at all times to improve the industry’s standing with the public. Eric fought for many motions for the local builders here often to the point of being stubborn but it was always done with good heart.
Eric leaves Jean his wonderful and supporting wife, and children Jimmy, Michael, Nigel and Sue. I am proud that I took over the role as FMB Branch Secretary in Poole from Eric and it is with respect that I have tried to continue with the fervour that my predecessor showed. Eric did not want to give up the secretarial role because it had become his life, so I am honoured with the post.
Eric will be missed by many of us who had worked and met with him for decades. He truly was unique and we are thankful that we had the pleasure of sharing life with him. Eric’s funeral was attended by many FMB members past and present, including the National President, Ron Storer.