Life is a Challenge!

By Honeycombebeach


...a boss and colleague who was always fair, fun and fantastic to work for and with.

Martin Carrick Powell, to give him his full name, was my boss when the firm of solicitors I worked for merged with the firm for which he was Managing Partner back in 2004.  We always got on well together and he was a joy to work with and for - always being interested in me as a person - and because of that, he always got the best out of me and and the rest of his staff.

I would often pop into his room when I was down at our office in Bath and have a chat with him and he was as interested in my family as he was with how the work was going at our Swindon office.  

When he set up a new business with Nikki, another colleague in Bath, and even though I had retired over 14 years ago, whenever I visited, I was always made most welcome, given a cup of coffee and some biscuits, and it is a standing joke that whenever I visited them, I polished the brass plate outside the premises.  In fact, even today, at the funeral, Martin's daughter, Sophie, asked when I was going down again because she thought the brass plate needed a good polish!  I promised I would be down very soon!

Although I was often asked to go back and work with them in their new venture, I never wanted to go back to work after I retired, but I am always glad when I get to see all those who work there and it is just as if I am still part of “The Team”.  

Today, at the funeral service for Martin at Haycombe, near Bath, there were about 300 people there to pay their respects to a man who was, as I said, fair, fun and fantastic to work for.  I think that the actual Chapel probably accommodated about 100 people, but another 200 or so were in the vestibule and even standing outside, testament to the high regard in which Martin was held.  

Three of his children, Sophie, Susannah and Matthew took part in the service, giving a wonderful appreciation of Martin’s life and although I didn’t know much about his family, or his out-of-work activities, after hearing them, I knew a lot more about him and could tell how much he was loved as a good husband and Father.  The Minister leading the service complimented the congregation on the singing after the first hymn “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer” was sung rousingly, and “Jerusalem” and “Abide With Me” were sung just as well.  

I managed to find a seat in the vestibule next to a lady called Val who was obviously a great friend of Martin and in fact, when we had been chatting outside before the service, she and her husband, Nigel, said that he was Best Man at their wedding many years ago.  They told us a funny story about Martin being late for the wedding because he had been interviewed by a Policeman for “sounding his horn” when there was no need to do so on the way to the wedding!  Oh dear, Mr. Powell!

After the service, when we walked out to Morecambe and Wise singing “Bring Me Sunshine”, there was much “milling around” which was great because I got to meet many other colleagues, some of whom I hadn’t seen since I had retired and who said I hadn’t changed a bit!  Of course, I hugged them - well who wouldn’t after 14 years?  One Solicitor said that he was looking around to see who he knew and the first person he saw was me, so afterwards he came up and had a chat - I have to admit that in all those years, he hadn’t changed much either!

My old boss was there and I couldn’t believe that his sons and daughter were now grown up - I can remember him going to collect the boys from boarding school every Friday afternoon and he told us that his daughter was an actor (I still think of female as actresses - guess that's my age!) - where do the years go?  He said he retired in April and one of his partners said that I had been mentioned in his retirement speech - so I must have made an impression! 

We decided not to go to the Wake, which was due to take place in the middle of Bath, mainly because of the parking difficulties, but stopped at Farleigh Road Farm Shop, in Norton St. Philip, not too far from Farleigh Hungerford Castle, and had a wonderful lunch, so we shall definitely be going back there sometime.

Thank you, Martin, for all the fun and laughter over the years - it was great to know you and to see how much you were loved and respected by so many people.  We send our love and sympathy to your family and friends.

The collage shows Martin and some of the views of the Wiltshire countryside on our way to and from the service today - a beautiful sunny day.

"To live in hearts 
     we leave behind 
          is not to die."
Thomas Campbell

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