Saturday, 7 February 2009

Tribute from Wayne

Personal note from Wayne, a school friend of Richies:-

Richard. (AKA – Wildo, Rich, Tall Fella, Chief, Mr Baldy)

To me, Rich was always a bit different, even from an early age.
I have known him since we were both at Infants School (aged 5ish) up through Junior School (up to 11years old) Both of us being at Lady Bay School.
Secondary School (Rushcliffe Comprehensive), we pretty much went our separate ways (this means we were in different blocks in school, and had little to do with each other on a day to day basis).
Then there was college and Uni, Work, Kids and MARRIAGE!!

The early years…
My memories of Rich as a person at that age….he was a kid (like we all were…obviously…Durrr), just a bit different. We used to play together, and go to each other’s birthday parties etc. Normal kids stuff. However, he was intelligent, but possibly geeky with it, always at the top of the class
He was into Dr Who and similar.
I recall he had lots of stuff that related to Dr Who. I especially remember him having K9 (a robot dog) and a Tardis that made Dr Who disappear….Cool!!
At junior school, inevitably there were gangs…His was U.N.I.T (UNified Intelligence Taskforce)…surprise surprise….Dr Who related. This gang was only for those who were seen to be inteligent…..oh and liked Dr Who, so he was already showing signs of being a bright lad.
Rich also played for the school in the cricket team ….he was a mean fast bowler, and even at this age understood that bowling at high speed and making it bounce at peoples heads scared the hell out of most people, and that got easy wickets. Tall for his age, and coupled with his ability to alter his face to look like a pit bull sucking a lemon as he was about to bowl, understandably made him a force to be reckoned with…. I think he was the team captain.
He probably could have made it in cricket if he had kept it up.

I have a few memories from these early days I believe are worth mentioning, he may have been bright, but was prone to being stupid with the rest of us.
I remember being in his garden digging tunnels (which collapsed on my head), building tree houses (which collapsed and Dallan Bradley fell out of) and having wars with the older kids from over the bottom hedge (apples, stones, sticks) which the tunnels and tree houses were supposed to help with. Although bright, construction engineering didn’t seem to be Rich’s forte.
We created a haunted house in his garden shed once, hiding Dallan Bradley inside in a sheet to be a ghost. We got Julian Hallam (a friend from over the road) to go into the shed and we closed the door behind him. Whilst Julian was inside in the pitch black dark, Rich and I squirted Red Tip-Top (a fruit drink of the day) in on Julian via a hole in the shed, both of us shouting that it was vampire blood. Dallan proceeded to do the ghost thing. Julian screamed at the top of his voice and continued to scream whilst smashing the door open and running home…cool… We laughed, but thinking about it, we may have mentally scarred Julian for life!!
Rich and myself were also chased by an angry farmer, after having created a base from his hay bails. We were little, but fast and fit, and got away easily by jumping a fence into another field. Little did we know, the farmer had jumped into to his tractor and 5 minutes later we were running again being easily caught up. Rich decided to try and jump a 2 meter dyke/stream…..he found he couldn’t do it and got caught. I had carried on going. Not sure what happened, but I think he just got the hair drier treatment from the farmer.
Richard, Sean and myself also tried creating tattoos and selling them at school. This didn’t really catch on…. probably because they were just blue ink pictures drawn on the sticky bit you lick from an envelope.

With age comes different experiences and urges…. and cricket faded away.
I didn’t really see Rich until later in teenage life due to the fact that we were in separate parts of the school. We would run into each other on occasions (sometimes quite literally), sometimes with Sean, or Ian Gardner (one of Rich’s best mates from Infants/Junior days with a similar interest in Dr Who), and Sean may be able to fill you in better for this period.

What I do know is, he had become more creative, using his computer of the time to write programs, one of which moved a very basic robot shape across the screen…. Great!! He was very proud of that one…. I personally didn’t get it? Each to their own.
He also created a world with characters (Flash Albert) with Sean, which included recording story chapters to tape, and writing reams of inane stuff. I will leave Sean to explain that one.

During the Uni/College days, we would occasionally meet, usually to go to a club or pub and have a good time.
Often we would meet to play role-play games. Most of us tended towards the likes of Dungeon and Dragons, Star Wars and Judge Dredd. Rich would prefer Vampire, Cthulu and Rolemaster, the more mature, creative and intellectually challenging role-play games of the time.
Rich took role play one stage further by doing live role play, requiring taking on a persona and getting dressed up (cloaks, robes, suites of armour etc etc), running round different locations hitting each other with sticks and pretending to cast spells. I’m sure his Martial Arts training in his earlier years gave him an advantage with this…. he knew how to use two pieces of stick with a chain linking them.
I suppose this was where he first gained his love for dressing up (something he later did far too easily…. including getting into ladies clothes for Panto!!).

Again, he was prone to thinking out of the box, and being a little leftfield (I think he liked Leftfield’s music!!), and at one point tried getting a few of his mates onboard with a Pyramid scheme. I think it was selling some sort of cleaning product!!…. Loony!!

Rich himself did computing at College/Uni, and for this I am eternally thankful. He helped me with some work I had relating to computers, without which I probably would never have progressed to gain my own degree…Cheers mate!!

Starting in Banbury and then moving to Maidenhead, Rich enjoyed life (ladies and Booze especially…. sorry Sam!!). Spending money earned from his computing career became the norm. He had all the games consoles going, and his flats (shared with friends in Maidenhead) would look like a war zone, with a temple to the Gaming God erected around the TV.

Never really a sporty person (apart from Cricket and Martial Arts) it was a little left field when Rich showed his apparent love for fast cars. I suppose he needed something else to spend his money on other than booze and computer games. Starting with a Vectra (ok…not very sporty), then a Toyota MR2, and obviously finally the Audi TT. I had the pleasure of being in a car with Rich on a couple occasions. As far I could tell, driving was not his forte either. However, just like him, he was so inclined to keep himself busy, he even created what he referred to as “Motorway Games” where he would try and miss “cats eyes” when changing lanes, or try and keep up with “motorway buddies”. It works, I catch myself doing it even now!!

Life in Maidenhead then took a dramatic turn…He met Sam.
Time to settle down!
Time to have Kids!
Time to get married!

Rich enjoyed his boozy, gaming and lady filled life prior to meeting Sam, but he loved life even more having met Sam. Rich was always flighty in relationships, and often mentioned, “hitting the big red button to abort” with earlier ladies. But I never heard Rich mention the big red button with Sam, not once! He Loved you Sam.

I know he was also extremely proud of being a Dad, not only to Harry, but also to Rebecca. Prior to myself becoming a Dad (and during), I remember Rich telling me on several occasions how wonderful it was with Harry, the smiles, the new words, the new actions, crawling, walking, hugging, crying…. nappies, sick…..yep….wonderful. I could also hear it in his voice when he chatted about how Harry would kick everything (the cats being potential targets occasionally).

So from all of this, how do I sum up Richard.

A bright, intelligent man, who enjoyed life to the full, and had time for others.
A true character, with a great sense of humour (his blog was testament to that), albeit a bit wacky at times.
A creative and energetic man, who always looked beyond the horizon to new alternative possibilities and experiences, and was positive, even to the end.
A man who loved his Wife, family and the life he had with them.
Finally, He was a friend. And I am proud to have had Rich as a friend.
My only regret is that we did not meet up as often as we should have.

I will miss him, and I am sure others will too.


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