Tuesday, 15 March 2016

A true gentleman

It's a shock when someone your know dies, and never more so than someone you knew very well when younger, but haven't seen for many years, and so they are still a young person in your memory.

The PAM team - (L to R) John , Anthony,
(Louis missing), me, Verity
I have just heard of the death of Anthony Fennelly, a friend and colleague from my early years at British Airways. In tributes I have seen, Anthony frequently referred to using that old fashioned epithet 'a gentleman' - I think this is because he was, without doubt, a gentle man. Softly spoken, helpful and friendly, Anthony started at BA a little before me and was already established in the team I joined after my training in T108 Comet House, on the engineering base at Hatton Cross, near Heathrow Airport. From the start he helped me fit in and soon became a friend.

A common sight: Anthony smiling
(with Brian Grumbridge and me)
We were a small team led by John Carney (who sadly died in a boating accident a good few years ago): Anthony, Louis Hooper, Verity Riding and me, (the PAM or Programme Analysis Model team) in a fairly compact end of a longer office. Anthony might have been soft spoken, but had a wicked sense of humour, and was inordinately fond of puns, such as his long-remembered illustration of a London station using a crab shouting 'Hurrah!' (Cheering Crustacean = Charing Cross Station) and an unstinting enthusiasm for lagomorphs.
Serious concentration

When we were both single we tended to socialise more (I remember being introduced to King Crimson round at Anthony's flat): inevitably with families and changes of team we lost contact to a degree, but over the 17 years I was at BA, any sighting of Anthony was always a delight.

The photos here are very much that young Anthony from my memory - circa 1978/9. The last time I saw him was at the Operational Research anniversary celebration in 2012. The world has lost a lovely man, and a great husband and father Such a shame.


8 comments:

  1. Very well written Brian. So sad Anthony died so young.

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  2. I wonder if you knew my Dad, Robert Roebuck? He was in training at Comet House around this time.

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    1. Hello Sue - no, I’m sorry - I only tended to know the people in Operational Research and our direct clients: Comet House was quite a big building.

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  3. This is a fine tribute to a lovely chap. As a member of the aircraft scheduling team at the other end of the office (and the photographer), I have happy memories of T108 as a place of fun and joy. I recall a lot of riffing on themes from 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', too.

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    1. Thanks, Sally - I would have attributed the photos, but aside from the obvious that I hadn’t taken them, I could remember where I’d got them from!

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    2. No worries, Brian - it's great that you have copies of them and are sharing them (on LinkedIn too, I think?) as they bring back memories of happy times.

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  4. A touching tribute to Anthony, Brian. He was a lovely guy.

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  5. A beautiful and accurate tribute. |He was too young. A great sense of humour. I still have some of his lagomorph drawings

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