Saturday, July 10, 2010

Manchester 9th July


It all passed off appropriately.

Sober and respectful, but with touches of characteristic irreverence and humour.

I had travelled up to Manchester to offer condolences on behalf of the Society of Ancients, and to share a few moments of reflection and reminiscence with friends, family and fellow enthusiasts. The formal stage was a humanist service with reflections from family members together with some memories and precis of Paddy the Historian and Wargamer from Tim Cockitt.

Paddy drew together a very wide range of contacts - John Dewienkiewicz, Tim Gow, Andrew Grainger, Jerry Elsmore, Andy Callan, Chris 'The Doormouse' were amongst many paying their respects ...

I spent some time over a coffee and a drink talking to former Slingshot editor Ian Greenwood, with whom I have had little contact since he dropped out 20 years ago. Ian was very much a Griffith disciple, and brought many of Paddy's wargaming or historical challenges directly to the Society's readership. Controversial though some of this was, Greenwood's characteristic mix was what re-engaged me with the Society and its activities (indeed, it was Ian and former President Roman Szwaba who first suggested I should allow my name to go forward in the Committee elections of 1988 ... that's another story, so they say - and a very long one).

Ian is well, still teaching, and on good form - as indeed were most of the veterans and old friends - and although he has seldom wargamed publicly since his replacement as Slingshot editor, he continues to mix Wargames with Cricket as activities for his pupils ...

I first met Paddy through the SOAC events Ian organised at Knuston Hall (a series of sort of Ancient and Medieval COWs that ran on well into the 1990s, latterly with myself and Ian Russell Lowell at the helm). Paddy's often sprawling games were full of ideas, if, sometimes, brilliant and annoying in equal measure. It is impossible to imagine wargaming the way it is today without the great jolt it got, called Paddy Griffith. And without the initiatives he launched and the inspiration he gave, it is impossible that I would have developed the circle of much valued friends and accomplices that have kept me going over the last 20 years.

Our sympathies and support go to his wife, Genevieve, son Robert, and their families.

I understand there will be a more comprehensive and inclusive memorial event organised in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, we mourn the passing of a unique enthusiast and indefatigable friend. Someone who made a difference.

See also ...
Obituary: The Times, 9th July, 2010 (p.66)

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