My wife, Michelle, and I got to know both Graham and Towe from around the time of Aila being born, following an introduction from Sue Smith. We mostly did 'couply' sort of get togethers, but there would be the occasional meet up with Graham and me in the pub, to do Blokes Talk, Graham supping his usual half pint limit! What would happen if he drank more? I'll never know now.
Graham was an instantly likeable person, exuding an instant calm, warm and humourous personality and, although we didn't get to meet up that often, we could more or less pick up a conversation where we left off.
At times, I would be sent round to either drop off or pick up something one of my children had left after a party or other get together. It would start out as a quick drop in, simply to pick up the said pair of shoes, gloves, toy or whatever, but Graham would always offer a beer and we'd sit at the garden table (weather permitting) and chat for a while. Ordinarily I'd probably get 'that stare' if I'd had that beer and chat with anyone else, but with Graham it was considered quality time, certainly for me and I hope for Graham also.
There are a couple of 'if onlys'. We were well overdue for a pub catch up. We never did get that curry in.
As a couple get together, we were due to meet up this weekend, at Graham and Towes, for a Strictly Come Dancing evening! When I was told of this, I thought "Right, OK. Not my thing, but at least I can have a background chat with Graham, while the girls watch the telly." But no, I was reliably informed that Graham liked Strictly, so I would have to muck in. Good grief!
I'm absolutely sure that the evening would have been brilliant, despite my dancing apathy, and there you have one more If Only.
To conclude, it was an absolute pleasure to know Graham. The fact that Simon, Stumpy and all the other characters have remained friends for so long is a fitting tribute in itself.
To Towe and the children, who will no doubt read this Blog page when they are ready, there are many sharing your loss and we will be there for you in the weeks and years ahead- you only need to ask.
A fond farewell Graham.