Geoff Downman – In Memoriam
It was a bright sunny Summer’s day as we parked on the lush green grass in front of the club house of a very busy Betchworth Park Golf course. A temporary overflow car park was required to accommodate the visitors to the celebration of Geoff Downman’s life. As we mingled prior to the speeches and lunch, it was obvious to see the main features of his life were well represented from his early time in the RAF , his long career at Esso, his sporting prowess , his fondness of Africa and his loving family. The S of A had a good representation to say goodbye to a very loyal Straggler, in attendance were Billy King-Harman, Peter Marno, Geoffrey Hartley, Ed Fullbrook ( all the way from Sheffield), Charlie Rowe, Peter Cattrall, Mike Lewis, Brian Hamlyn, Richard Merricks and Brian Woodbridge. We know that Mike Halliwell and Shiv Datt had intended to come, but last minute problems prevented them.
We were treated to speeches from all the family including Paul Downman, who is himself a Straggler. They were full of anecdotes about a fun loving family man. His work colleagues spoke of his management skills and of his ability to get things done, but above all else they continued to mention his integrity in an ever changing business world. We heard from his sporting friends about his considerable talent on the rugger field, on the cricket pitch, on the golf course and in the squash courts and his competitiveness was renowned, but again integrity and fair play ruled. It was truly felt by all attendees that a fond farewell was indeed achieved and we said goodbye to a very special man and a great Straggler.