Sunday, 15 May 2011

Ben's Speech

There were two reasons I wanted to speak today; I wanted to tell everyone here about the man I knew, Dad and friend; I also wanted to say something to my dad which I never got to say, but which I had planned to when I next got the chance; I’ll start by telling you about him.

I think I could talk for a lifetime about the man that I call Dad; he could talk to anyone, relate to everyone, and he knew exactly what to do in every situation. I remember the time, Mum, Dad, Abs and I went to Disneyland Florida – We had booked to stay in the Sports Hotel, a sprawling apart-hotel just outside the theme park. Upon arrival, we realized that the hotel was not quite to our liking (I say WE rather loosely, Mum was probably the main instigator here) – I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say that it wasn’t going to be a culturally enriching experience... At this point, Dad marched us straight past the reception, across the lobby and to the nearest phone, where he made a call to the Disney Castle hotel, the main hotel within the park. He enquired as to the availability of rooms here, to be told that this hotel was fully booked, as it would be, at the height of summer. A normal person in this situation might thank the kind, friendly American lady on the phone, walk back to reception and check his family in, making the best of what we had. Not Dad – He said to that kind, friendly American lady;

“Miss, can I ask you a question; If Bill Clinton called you right now and asked you if he could have a room in this hotel for the next 5 nights for him and his family, what would you say?”

She replied that, should that happen, they would likely find Mr Clinton a room as requested. To this, my Dad replied;

“Well Miss, I can tell you that Bill is unable to make it at the moment, so would it be possible to have his room instead?”

We stayed at the Disney Castle hotel for 5 nights, in a fantastic room overlooking the park.

I’ll always remember the way Dad could tell a joke about anything – He used to boast that, if you said a word, any word, he’d have a joke related to it, and a follow up from that leading into another… and another… etc. etc. I’m sure you all will as well. Man, did Dad like to tell a joke. At this point, most people might add in one of the classics, but I’m sure you’d have heard it already. There were only 5 in total.

A music lover, Dad imparted in me a passion for playing and listening to Music. I grew up on Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Dire Straights and many more, learning early on that these guys were pretty cool, and thinking that my Dad must be as well, if he listens to them… As I got older, I realized this was slightly misguided – Dad’s not cool, he listens to Oldie music, not the newer stuff like Green Day, Nirvana etc. When we went look at guitars one day, Dad tried a few out, strumming chords to Stairway to Heaven and American Pie; I was talking to the guy in the shop about a few bands, Green Day were my favourite at the time, when across the shop, Dad starts playing their newest single, Basket Case, on a Fender Strat; The guy was suitably impressed, asking me “is that your Dad playing Basket Case?”. I was pretty proud to say “Yes”.
One moment that I got to share with the old man was a concert he took me to in 2007, Led Zeppelin – This was a great day for both of us, as 25 years before, Dad had gone to see them, pretty much the same age as I was then. That was a pretty special day, and one that I’ll remember forever.

 I could go on; Dad loved his Family, Chelsea, his business, his golf, his skiing, his beer and food (check out the pictures later, this was clearly a man who liked his beer and his food), and he did them all to the max. This was a guy who enjoyed life, and did the things that he wanted to do. Even after he got ill, Dad made sure that he enjoyed the things he could continue too - We went to Chelsea most weekends, he developed a love of random alcoholic beverages, Moscow Mules, Crabbies Ginger beer, etc.

But I think the most important thing was that we all spent a lot of time together as a family, enjoying each others company. Dad was a family man, and illness or no illness, he didn’t let anything get in the way of his love for us, or his desire to make sure that we did the things that that we wanted to do; that he wanted us to do.

And here’s the bit that I wanted to say to my Dad, but didn’t get the chance.

Dad, before we said goodbye, you told me it was best to make a “bucket list”, a list of things that you want to do before you die. I thought about it long and hard flying back from Oz, and I realized there was only one thing that I’d put on mine. The only thing that I truly I want in my life is to know that I have been even half the man that you were, and even half the Dad that you have been to me.

Bye Dad, I love you, and I’ll see you on that black run in Flane.

Brian 'Grandad' Lawrence's Speech

Sorry everyone to interrupt you but Julie has asked me to say a few words about my mate Steve.   He was such a talented guy a very successful businessman, a good musician and a loving husband and father.   He was so proud of his family and of all their achievements and loved nothing better than having an impromptu jam session -  playing his guitar and singing with Ben and when Abi got a first at Uni he was bursting with pride even though at the time he was very ill and I am proud to be an honorary granddad to them all.

Every Tuesday Dave Shave and Tony Sparkes and myself would spend the afternoon with Steve so that Julie could come to the club to keep in touch with her friends.    We either watched a film a comedy dvd or listened to steve’s jokes again and again but I am sure whatever we did -  he did appreciate it.   Thanks guys.

He had numerous and fabulous holidays and I am sure a few of his mates will want to tell you about them later.   One of my holiday memories of him was in a fantastic 10 bedroom villa in Portugal bought by Steve at an auction - it was magnificent and we all had great fun golfing during the day and Liz Young and myself fighting over the karaoke machine in the evenings.   We also went with Steve and Julie sailing around the Greek islands.   Anyone who read his “roger the cabin boy daily captain’s report” will have had many laughs - we certainly did.   What a treat to have him aboard.

After the diagnosis of motor neurone it was suggested we try to get an eye recognition computer similar to stephen hawkins.   I endeavoured to raise the money together with Graham Young and luckily for us all - Grant Needham was able to take the load from us - thanks Grant - and what fun Steve had with it.  His jokes were phenomenal and were never ending.   Poor Julie had to listen to them all day long.  It didn’t matter who came in doctors, nurses, care workers, builders, they all listened to his jokes.   I am sure you will agree with me Steve was a very very brave man and was able to maintain his sense of humour to the end.  

But we mustn’t forget Julie who lost 24 stone in weight - we used to call her big bird now we call her little sparrow.   Julie looked after him with extraordinary love and devotion and he told me many times how much he loved her and was grateful to her.

Steve embraced everybody at Cuddington he was always happy to talk and share a joke -  a joke and yet another joke with anybody at the Club.   Even John Terry (Chelsea and England captain) after playing at Cuddington was so impressed by his sense of fun that he put an obituary in the Chelsea match programme.    

I think you will all agree he was a fantastic member and I feel sure would have gone on to be a great captain.

Late breaking news - Steve has arranged to play golf with Seve Ballesteros tomorrow morning - he wont beat him at golf but he will make him laugh.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Don's speech at the funeral

Steve Henry Goodfellow

Good morning everyone, I’d like to say a few words about my good friend Steve Henry Goodfellow, who will probably be looking down this morning on this august gathering with a wry grin on his face, wishing desperately that he could be here to say a few words to you all himself.

Firstly though, to Julie, Ben and Abi and the rest of his immediate family here today, may I express my heartfelt sympathies to you on your loss. Steve was a great husband and father and I share in your bewilderment as to why he, of all people, should be struck down so horribly by such a pernicious disease

What words can I say that might capture the essential spirit of a man who had such a joy and zest for life, and who judging by the number of people attending here today, was a much loved and admired individual.

Perhaps, if you would allow me, I could provide some anecdotes about my relationship with him that might illuminate what Stevie Gee (as I liked to call him) was all about. The football fans amongst you will hopefully appreciate the delicious irony in the Stevie Gee reference

We first met in 1979 whilst working for an American Oil Company called Phillips Petroleum - two likely lads hailing from Sarf London who hadn’t done too badly from an educational point of view. Steve unbelievably was employed as a trainee accountant, and I as a trainee commercial manager. In those days Steve had a beautifully full head of hair (including a quiff) and I sported a well maintained 70’s looking afro, full of black hair with nary a hint of grey or silver.

Our individual and deep sense of fun meant it was inevitable we were destined to become big mates and combining that with a competitive edge to everything we did, meant that we cemented a strong and enduring relationship.

In the early days, our fairly puerile sense of humour nearly got the pair of us sacked by the oil company for a series of pranks that came unstuck on more than one occasion.

·        Ascot and the Chief Exec
Ø      Phillips social club manager organised a day at Royal Ascot for Phillips employees, transportation from our head office in Victoria to Ascot was to be by coach
Ø      Steve and I forged the Chief Exec’s signature, requesting two seats for him and his wife at the back of the coach, just in case they might want a bit of a kiss and a cuddle on the way back
Ø      Social secretary was very proud the Chief Exec had booked onto the trip, but then he spoiled our fun by hassling the Chief Exec (or at least the Chief Exec’s PA), for coach fares

·        The Chief Exec’s Fan Club
Ø      Our Chief Exec was a man from Kentucky with the unlikely name of Earl B. Guitar
Ø      Steve and I spent a good deal of time preparing and distributing Earl B Guitar Fan Club membership packs that contained
§         a life size cardboard cut-out of Earl to examine in the privacy of your own home and break the ice at parties
§         Play Bert Weedon in a day self help guitar guide (Google Bert if you don’t get this…)
§         Entry into a competition where the top prize was the chance to duet with Earl Guitar at Nashville’s Old Oprey Theatre in America

·        Drilling Application
Ø      We submitted an entirely fictitious drilling application to the Department of Energy seeking permission to begin exploratory drilling in Knightsbridge
Ø      As supporting evidence, we cited the secret (and made up) geophysical and seismic data we had commissioned, which led us to believe there was a rich seam of oil producing hydrocarbons …..under Harrods

In each of these examples, we narrowly avoided being exposed through the timely intervention of the Chief Exec’s PA who for some strange reason liked both of us, thought we were funny and could hold off those folk baying for our blood, with unbelievable charm and sweetness

We also shared a deep love of music in all of its forms. He taught me a lot about rock ‘n’ roll, and I like to think I switched him onto jazz, blues and an occasional bit of hip hop. We also attended a good few concerts together from Pink Floyd to Marvin Gaye. In fact the last concert we attended together was the Roger Waters gig at the 02 in 2008. Although I didn’t know it at the time, sadly this would be the last time I saw my good friend Steve.

Many was the time we hooked up for a night out, or a BBQ, or other social event, and at the end of the evening Steve would strum his guitar and I would sing the blues. A really good memory remains in my mind of these times, and I think there are still some photos in existence that show these impromptu jam sessions were more often than not fuelled by some excellent and exotic ales.

The other thing that really defined our friendship was a very keen but healthy competitive edge. Those people who know both of us will know something of the nature of that competition. It didn’t really matter what the sport was, there was always a full blooded encounter between us…
·        Squash (I knocked one of his teeth out with my backswing, he peppered my body with the squash ball if I strayed too far in front of him on court)
·        Marathon tennis sessions in Corfu that drew crowds because neither of us was prepared to concede a single point willingly.
·        Swimming competitions. He was good at swimming, I couldn’t swim and he once challenged me to a diving competition, then when he found out about my inability, he took great pleasure in taunting me horribly  
·        Golf (a wild slice in his early golfing career caught me square in the back of the leg as I was looking for my ball)
·        Impromptu dancing competitions in night clubs around South London

Time moved on, and Steve met and married the lovely Julie and together, they started their family, the tall feller Ben and his beautiful sister Abi. I was pleased to be made to feel very much a part of his new family.

At the same time, Steve started to develop a successful career in the property management and financial services industry. This success was based entirely on his own work ethic, his exuberant personality and his wicked sense of humour. These qualities seemed to endear him to and charm the pants of most people he came into contact with. I think it speaks volumes that his business at its height was a hugely successful concern, with 9 or 10 offices across the area, bearing his name. As far as Steve was concerned, his name stood for “we do things right around here”, and he was very fierce about guarding his reputation in this regard. Employees or directors who failed to uphold these values did not usually last that long at his company. Personnel management was old school and robust, but the company prospered as a result.

In 1997, I too got married to my wife Louise and we were very pleased that Steve, Julie and his family, became part of my extended family, and were able to join us in those celebrations. As usual, he was at his most charming, effusive and humorous on my big day and even my Mum (not normally impressed with many people, or my friends in particular) commented that he was such a lovely man and that she wished she were 40 years younger.  

Steve Julie Ben and Abi got to know my sons Harrison and Max very well. In fact when Harrison was born, Steve decided to nickname him Paddington on account of our family name being Blair. In recent years we haven’t seen quite so much of each other as perhaps we should have. Raising kids isn’t easy, work these days seems to be all consuming, and generally getting on with life seems to eat up a hell of a lot of one’s free time.

However, I think we all need to make a big effort to find the time to see those that you love and care for. I guess that’s a lesson we can all learn, and we shouldn’t continue to excuse ourselves, so to speak. Despite this, I’d like to think that good friends understand these pressures and challenges of life, and we try to pick up with friends wherever we left off the last time we met, because true friends live in our hearts and minds always.

I didn’t know anything at all about Steve’s illness until Julie called me with the devastatingly sad news of his passing. This week I read Steve’s online blog and that shook me even further. Typical Steve really, he didn’t want me to know about (much less witness) his deteriorating health condition. He wanted me to remember him in fine form battling against me in whatever sport we had chosen - and I cannot really blame him for that. It is indeed how I will remember him.

I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Julie and his wonderful kids for looking after him so well during his illness. Can I also say a big thank you to those friends here today who supported him through his illness.

Rather selfishly, I am saddened that I didn’t get the opportunity to say goodbye to my friend before he passed away. I hope that my few clumsy words here do him the honour I feel for him in my heart.

So how do you sum up a man such as Steve Henry Goodfellow. He was a loyal, hugely social, friendly, up for a laugh, competitive, exuberant, successful and loving kind of guy. An all round good egg and I loved him like a brother. I’m proud to say that I knew Steve Goodfellow and that he was a good friend of mine. Like so many here today, I will miss him deeply.

I keep looking up in the sky for the brightest star Steve, because that would obviously have to be you, shining down on us all.

I’d like to finish by sharing this small bit of prose by David Harkins that really spoke to me. I hope you are similarly affected.

You can shed tears that he is gone, or you can smile because he has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back, or you can open your eyes and see all he's left

Your heart can be empty because you can't see him, or you can be full of the love you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember him and only that he's gone, or you can cherish his memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what he'd want; smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

Thank you
Donovan Blair
7th April 2011

Abi's Speech

I found this almost impossible to write. I thought the words would flow easily: our family has spent the whole time since Easter Sunday reminiscing about dad and his cheeky ways. We have laughed as much as we have cried, which is about right, seeing as dad was never one to feel sorry for himself. He always looked on the bright side. He was a firm believer that there are only two types of people: drainers and chargers. He was a charger through and through.

 But actually selecting some of these anecdotes and trying to sum my dad up has proved difficult. He lived life to the full, and never took no for an answer. Who else would heckle John Terry and get himself a mention in a Chelsea program, even after he had lost his voice? Who would get away with drunkenly upturning the entire table at the Villa Medici without so much as a slap on the wrist? Who would have the audacity to just swan onto the private boat to the Cipriani in VeniceWho would get their child to call her beloved sheep-shaped slippers ‘pasanda and cleftico’ for a year before she realized the ruse? He had a way about him that meant he could get away with anything, and he certainly made the most of it.
From a daughter’s point of view, he was an amazing father. I hold my hands up and admit that he spoilt me rotten; he read me Winnie the Pooh or Paddington Bear until I fell asleep; took us on amazing holidays to exotic places; encouraged and facilitated my never-ending studies; and even supported my decision to do a winter season. I kept him updated via email and blog about my adventures in Meribel, for which I was rewarded by his characteristic and witty replies, along with a scattering of jokes, which got me told off by my boss on a number of occasions for snorting at reception.

He also kept me updated about the day to day activities of my family.
He was so proud of my brother, who has done things exactly as dad always said he would, and who was always his favourite jam-partner and Chelsea-mate.
 And he was so in love with and grateful to my mother, who stood by him through everything. My parents have made me believe, without any shadow of a doubt, in the reality of ‘soul mates’.

So no, it isn’t fair that he got ill. But in many ways we are lucky. It was characteristic of dad that the first things he programmed into his light-writer were ‘this is my Stephen Hawkins impression’ and ‘pass me the Guinness’. Everytime he was knocked down he bounced right back with a joke. He showed us how to laugh through the shit as well as the good times, and taught us to cram as much as we can into our lives while we have the chance. He certainly did.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Stephen Goodfellow


 “I told you I was ill”

 Died suddenly on Sunday 24th April after a hard battle with Motor Nuerone Disease.

 The funeral will be held at 10am on Saturday 7th May at North East Surrey Crematorium, Lower Morden Lane, Morden, Surrey, SM4 4NU.

We will then all celebrate his life at Cuddington Golf Club, Banstead.

 All enquiries to W.A Truelove & Son Ltd., 31A High Street Cheam, Sutton, SM3 8RE, 020 8642 3300.

Friday, 15 April 2011


Vodka is the way forward. I have enjoyed drinking Crabbies alcoholic ginger beer of late and last week a fellow member at Cuddington advised me to try a Moscow Mule cocktail. It comprises lime, double vodka, topped up with ginger beer or ginger ale with ice and if you like, angastoura bitter. It is rather nice. I have also been having vodka soda with lime and ice, but last night I thought that the lime was getting to my throat, so I changed the lime to orange which worke people with mnd don't have too many pleasures and it seems that when you realise what you are still enjoying something else stops working and you have to find something elso to amuse you /keep you sane. So call me a pisshead if you like but it helps me sleep and keeps me sane.