Today I would like to honor a very special person, my Grandfather, Dennis Cedric Groves. It’s his birthday today!!
My Grandfather was, and will always be, the most interesting person I know. His life was filled with many adventures and he was never short of fun stories to share.
His journey began at a very young age when he was literally bitten by his hobby, and from there it grew into a great passion that took his talent beyond just another daily past time. It became his life and he spent many hours pouring his heart and soul into every piece of work he produced. From life like specimens of different fish and reptiles, to creatures only the imagination could conjour. He even went as far as to replicate prehistoric beasts like the Megaladon, the largest prehistoric shark that ever lived!!
He also embarked on a project, creating giant sized creepy crawlies. But his goal went further than only creating artworks and trophies; he wanted to educate people and even had a dream of opening a museum for the blind, so that they may also experience all the wonders the world has to offer.
Other relics in his collection include a giant footprint that was embedded in a rock crevice in the Mondi Forest. After casting a rubber mold and recreating this unique find, the story was published and priests from Sri Lanka contacted him, as the very same, but opposite footprint exists in their country. According to belief, a higher power came down to judge the earth centuries ago. It stood with one foot in the east and the other in the west. Finding these footprints confirmed this legend.
Dennis even had the opportunity to meet MAX the gorilla, made famous after he was shot while apprehending a criminal who broke into his enclosure. My grandfather took impressions of Max’s hands and feet, and made resin casts for the Zoo. They were extremely grateful for this as Max sadly passed away in 2004.
His mind was also very imaginative and he created supernatural creatures – witches and werewolves - after being inspired by the John Landis production AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. He also worked closely with Casper van Dien on a film that was produced in South Africa.
In 1997, he received the Golden Achievers Award from NBS for his creativity and ability to educate so many youngsters from schools throughout the province.
The last project he undertook was to recreate the “WORLD’S LARGEST SNAKE”, a reticulated python estimated at around 40ft. The snake was shot by a farmer in Solwezi, Indonesia.
Regrettably, this never came to pass. In early 2010, he passed away after a short battle with Cancer, only 9 days before his memoirs, “Fangs: A True Account of One Man’s Life with Snakes and Survival Against Snake Bites”, was published.