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I heard last night that you have died; it has only been a year since you were diagnosed – no time at all! I am not sure I said thank you enough to you for your support. Thank you!

I was so nervous that first coffee meeting! Tony Elischer knows I exist and he wants to spend some time with me – yikes! It was a feeling reminiscent of my school days when I would be called to see the Deputy Head (she was far scarier than our Head): a queazy feeling borne from a lack of certainty as to exactly which misdemeanor had been discovered and therefore panic at not knowing how to prepare. You laughed so much when I confessed this, almost immediately I sat down, and went on to absolutely rubbish any notion of your specialness.

Image - a typical Tony-mid-chat shot - is courtesy of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD252CS4zyc

Image – a typical Tony-mid-chat shot – is courtesy of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD252CS4zyc

I am still so very flattered that you took an interest in my career, thank you! I soon came to realise that I was joining a pretty cool club of people in whose careers you took an interest and supported. And by supported (speaking for myself) I mean thoroughly challenged, debated, scrutinized, held up and then considered some more. I quaked each time I got ready to meet you those first six months but each challenge and observation was delivered without judgement and with encouragement and kindness.

You cannot possibly have known how much of a kick I needed right then but it soon became clear and you did not falter from giving me the push(es) I needed. And you did so with no motive outside your generous interest in the blossoming (and stalling) careers of fundraisers. I will miss you.

I cannot imagine you resting, even in death so I will instead wish you adventure and the opportunity to change things for the better wherever you may now be.

Thank you for so much, Mr Elischer, for everything.