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Introduction and Dedication

To Stroke a Cheetah, an Autobiography by Captain D. B. Hopkins

When I started to write this account of my life I had no intention for it to be other than a story my children and grandchildren might want to read to see what I got up to over the years from 1930 to today. However several of my friends and acquaintances have read parts of it and encouraged me to try to get it published saying it would appeal to a wider audience.

The fact that you are reading this means that I have been successful in finding a publisher and I hope you will enjoy the story of my life, which I think you will find is slightly different to most people's. I have been lucky to have had such an exciting time, to have had such support from Mella, my wife of 46 years, and to have such a successful family.

I dedicate this story firstly to Mella, without whom I could not have done all the things I have. I am well aware that at times she has felt that she was left on the sidelines, looking after our three sons, while I travelled the world earning a very respectable living. However we are both from that generation that believes that children are best brought up by having a mother at home, while father provided the wherewithal. I am still firmly of the opinion that this is the best method of producing well behaved and balanced offspring, and when I compare the behaviour of today's generation of litter louts and vandals that the so-called equality of the sexes has produced I think one could say that my case is proved.

Secondly I dedicate this book to our three sons, Trevor, Christopher and Austen, of whom I feel justifiably proud as they have all worked hard at their chosen careers.

Thirdly I dedicate my book to our four grandsons, who I feel sure will carry on upholding our family's motto - "The best is always good enough, but only just!"

I would like to thank all those friends who have read parts of this manuscript and encouraged me to have it published.

My grateful thanks are also extended to John Davey for taking the trouble to read my manuscript and write such a nice foreword.

The reader will notice that I have put certain things in as Annexes. I have done this as they may, or may not, appeal to everyone. Not reading them should not detract from your enjoyment of my story in any way.

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