This Is Not A
Those of you who have been with this site for some time may recall my piece of just over four years ago marking the retirement of Terence 'Tex' Burke from HM Revenue & Customs.
The past year had seen him suffering from a serious illness, and it was with great sadness that I heard that Tex died in hospital this morning.
As I remarked before, Tex was my first manager in what was then the Inland Revenue, and his bluff good humour and sheer common sense (qualities in rather short supply in most of his equivalents today) got me through what was, at times, a sticky first year.
He was a very organised man; so much so that when a new office opened nearby, he was one of the people best suited to getting it up and running. For many years afterwards he controlled the office budget and kept the building's increasingly decrepit telephony system operating - a skill he passed on to me when the time came.
I last saw him at the start of March and, although it was obvious that his illness had physically diminished him somewhat, he was still very much his old self.
Through him, I came to know other members of his family, many of whom work (or have worked) in the same office; most particularly his son and daughter-in-law Tez and Wendy who were instrumental (if you'll excuse the pun) in providing me with one of the best evenings of my life just under a year ago.
I would be the first to deny any claims I have to photographic talent, but one of the pictures I'm most proud of is one I took at Tex's retirement 'do' which showed all the members of the Burke family who were working in our office at that time:
I will remember a bloody good bloke, and will be raising a glass in his memory this evening.
If you want to do something which might have longer-lasting positive effects, given that Tex was an avid bird-watcher, please consider making a donation to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (*) by clicking on the logo below (or, of course, by donating to the equivalent organisation in your own country).
Goodbye Tex, and thank you.
(*) My mind's not quite with it: the first time, I typed this as "the Royal Society for the Prevention of Birds", which wasn't quite what I intended...