The `Farewell to Frank’ evening for Frank Johnstone, retired `Chief of Operations’ of the Fish Hoek CID, was a warm, funny and deeply sincere celebration for a very special man whose energy, creativity and commitment has made the Fish Hoek CID safe and efficient and the envy of many towns.
The farewell was held at the Fish Hoek Galley Restaurant on18 January 2012 and as master of ceremonies Julian Hobbs of Pick n Pay Fish Hoek remarked, “This beautiful weather we are experiencing is Fish Hoek saying goodbye.” The Johnstones are re-locating to Johannesburg to be nearer their children and grandchildren.
Interspersed between the courses of an excellent meal, key members of the business community spoke about the founding of the Fish Hoek CID, the trials and tribulations of the early days without funds and surveillance cameras and the incredible legacy that Frank has left the community.
While it was very evident that all present will miss the hands on presence of Frank in our CBD, the evening was a happy celebration with many funny anecdotal accounts about the `dynamite in a small package recognisable by his floppy, white sunhat’. As an illustration of his 24 x 7 involvement in the safe running of the CID, Janet Holwill, a co-founder of FH CID, quipped that “he even knew all the Fish Hoek prostitutes by name, although he was the soul of discretion with regard to their customers!” Her comment sparked giggles at my table as someone recounted a story of how Frank had been reported to the police late one night by a passing motorist. Not knowing who Frank was, the motorist had reported `an elderly gentleman soliciting prostitutes on FH Main Road.’
The evening was an walk down memory lane and revealed the foresight of business leaders Janet Holwill (owner of The Arcade) and the late Clive Wakeford of Wakefords Furniture who in the late 1990’s started the Fish Hoek CID. At that time only two others existed in Cape Town – the Wynberg CID and the City Center CID. In those days, monthly meetings between these three CIDs to share experiences and to find solutions were held at the Vineyard Hotel. Janet remembered the early days when there was not enough money for the job at hand – primarily fighting crime and grime in the Fish Hoek Main Road area. Today, 20 years later, Fish Hoek has a surveillance camera system and monitoring by Mach 1 Security which is the envy of many CBDs across South Africa. What we so easily take for granted is a legacy of the dedication of key business people over many years.
As a previous manager / owner of the Shell Garage in Fish Hoek, Frank had been a businessman in town and knew the community before he was appointed to head up the CID. He recalls at the time being warned about a Mafia of business people in Fish Hoek “who think they run the town. The’Mafia’ family members include the Bings, Wakefords, Purchases, Holwills and others – all of whom have done so much for Fish Hoek” Frank’s job involved dealing with everything from taxi wars, bank robberies and the car guard system to attempting to improve neglected buildings and reduce litter. He was often out late at night and on weekends for which the community at large owe him and his wife Denise, “who never complained loud enough to be heard”, a huge debt.
Three longstanding family business people thanked Frank and wished him well in his retirement. Felicity Purchase, owner of Regal Cycles and the local Ward Councillor thanked Frank for his key role in helping to drive the installation of the surveillance cameras. Adrian Lawson of Cape Coastal Properties and Chair of the Fish Hoek Chamber of Business recalled happy memories when as a ‘lighty’ Frank helped teach him to drive. But most of all he remembers Frank as a role model who is kind, generous and good at heart. Rick Bing of AP Jones had the privilege of telling us about a special surprise. The CID now has its own office on 21 2nd Ave with three rooms each of which will be named after the founders of the CID, Clive Wakeford, Janet Holwill and Frank Johnstone. See the photo of the elegant metal name plaques which will be fixed to the doors of these rooms. The office is up and running and Mach 1 has moved into one of the rooms from which it monitors the surveillance cameras. Photo on RHS: Doug Wakeford, Frank Johnstone , Janet Holwill and Rick Bing.
From all that was said it is very clear that Frank is held in high regard by all who know him. He was highly praised for his integrity, his hard work, his creativity, his deep sense of responsibility and his ability to deal with challenging situations calmly.
Frank thanked everyone present for a `Mad and Fabulous evening’ and joked that “if you can get Ian Purchase to come, it must be an extraordinary occasion – thank you Ian”. Amongst those people with whom he had been especially involved over the years in making the Fish Hoek CBD a safe, clean and attractive place to shop and do business are Manu Choudree of Mach 1 with whom he worked soon after Manu started his security business in the area; Felicity Purchase and Herbie Eichel who gave support and help with the cameras; Allen Rose Innes and Steve Perret of the Community Police Forum, whom he quipped will now be the oldest there; Jeremy Rice of Tudor Manor who at the B & B meetings had worked with him to try and improve building facades in Fish Hoek, and many more.)
He added that he was proud of Fish Hoek, of the public and the businesses, saying that people work with you depending on how you work with them. “My philosophy is ‘You can shout at me as much as you like, but smile as you shout.’ “Synonymous with Frank, together with his floppy white hat, is his ever ready smile and the twinkle in his eye.
The new manager of the CID is Hennie v/d Merwe. After tonight, he knows that he is stepping into big shoes. We wish him all the best as the new man, trust that he will enjoy the support that Frank did and look forward to seeing him in the Fish Hoek CBD. Photo on LHS Hennie & Marianna v/d Merwe with Community Police Forum chairman Andre Blom & Cindy Blom
From all of us who have worked with Frank a big “Thank you”. We will miss you – you are part of the family of Fish Hoek. We wish you and Denise many years of health and happiness and a fulfilling retirement. Please feel free to add your well wishes to Frank and Denise to the comments block below. They will be reading the Scenic South from Johannesberg and will I am sure appreciate your wishes.
Kim & Viv