His brother Richard, myself and my three sisters all gave eulogies and reflections. Here was mine. I didn’t read it word for word, but it was useful to have it written out to keep me on the straight and narrow… public speaking with a fly rod is one thing; quite another at a funeral!
“Over the past three or four weeks, I’ve talked to many of Bill’s friends, and a common theme has emerged, namely that at some time of crisis, Bill was there to offer some practical and occasionally life-changing advice.
For me too, of course, growing up with Bill, he was my teacher. Now admittedly, I wasn’t always the most willing student, but over time I realised that the qualities I respect and admire in others, I saw in Bill.
Some of my earliest memories with Bill were the two of us camping and hiking in the Yorkshire moors. Wandering around in the mist and perpetual rain. He taught me to light fires, and where to pitch a tent so that you didn’t wake up in a cold bath.
We didn’t realise it then, but these adventures must have had a profound effect on me, because I’ve certainly spent a large amount of my adult life reliving them. It’s when I feel most alive.
Growing up as a boy, Bill passed on his love of rugby to me. He coached me and also my friends, many of whom are here today. When I was visiting last Christmas, Bill and I had a meeting with some of these guys, some of whom we hadn’t seen in over thirty years.
I’m so pleased that we did that. I know that the meeting meant very much to Bill because we talked about it in the car on the drive home and via Zoom since. That was the last evening I spent with Bill and it’s a great memory to have, so thank you.
Over the past twenty years or so I always enjoyed spending time together with Bill, arguably I learned even more from him as an adult, particularly when it came to anything to do with business.
During the Covid lockdowns my wife decided to do her Masters of Buisiness Administration degree. Bill was there coaching her via Zoom. Who better than Bill for this?
The day she collected her degree was the same day that we learned that Bill was in hospital. I know he saw the pictures and was very proud for Ashly.
I think that Bill’s life was inspirational. He managed to live about three lifetimes in one. His idea of retirement was to slow down slightly, so that he could find time to gather his pilot’s license and fly small planes, his yacht masters certificate to go sailing, and his PADI diving certification.
He was also continually educating himself right through life. I’ve never met anyone who knew so much about seemingly everything as Bill. I’ve met a few people who *think* they know everything about everything of course… but they obviously hadn’t met Bill. I actually didn’t know it was possible for the brain to store so much information.
A few things I learned directly from Bill, is that integrity has to be at the core of every relationship, whether family, friends or business. And that life is something you do, it’s not something that just happens to you; it’s an adventure.
I don’t know if there is a heaven up there. But I do know that Bill believed it. I’d like to think he is up there now, because there are a few people I know he would like to meet. I think that the conversation between him and Winston Churchill would be an interesting one!
Thanks Bill. You’ll be missed but never forgotten.”
A common theme at the wake following the funeral, was that everyone realised that they weren’t living enough! An incredibly busy man who lived an extremely full life.
It was very nice to see some of my old rugby pals. We joined up as the pallbearers. Ben asked my why I didn’t have grey hair when they all did? It’s because I’ve lived a life of pure thoughts Ben.
Heading back to Malaysia tonight.