Ian West

Hey Jude, after my earlier edited post of one of Lennon & McCartney’s finest, I thought I ought to post my memory of your father.

We met when we worked together at i2 between 2000 and 2003 and remained firm friends working together on many occasions afterwards. We were due to have a drink before his last trip, but sadly work got in the way – One of life’s great regrets.

As many people have already said your Dad really was the life and soul of any party, if there was ever a group laughing heartily, you could guarantee that your Dad was always the middle of it.

We spent many nights until the wee small hours in Dallas, Barcelona, Windsor, Central London, Boats on the Thames at Henley, or wandering the streets of his beloved Notting Hill (which we all found strange for a lad from Stoke) roaming from bar to bar, just decompressing after a long day.

In life there are many events that you will remember well – learning to drive, going to university, getting a degree, your first job, getting married, the birth of your children – but in the middle of all of this there are global events which become characterised as “where were you?” moments. For your grandparents it was JFK in November 63, for your Mum and Dad is was Princess Diana in August 97, but there was another global event that bonded your Dad and I together.

On a bright sunny September morning in 2001 we boarded a plane to fly to a meeting with some consultants at Deloitte’s in Stuttgart. We arrived to find an airport packed with people for the Stuttgart Motorshow but despite being petrol-heads we duly headed off for the planned meeting – So far so good. But our return journey was rather more eventful. We jumped into a taxi mid-afternoon and the German driver in very poor English was trying to explain that a plane had flown into a building in New York. We both thought a little Cessna or something, but the full magnitude didn’t hit us until we walked into the airport to find all the screens showing live TV, just as the second plane struck the second tower.

We found an airport on complete lock down, nobody allowed to check in, nothing taking off. We spent the next 3-4 hours trying to find hotels rooms – nothing available, it was the Stuttgart Motorshow – trying to hire a car, but neither of us had our licenses (never travel anywhere without your driving license), get a train to the channel tunnel (which involved 7 changes and a 21 hour journey). So we decided to sit tight in an increasingly crowded airport. After a 5 hour wait we were eventually checked in and a further 3 hours in and out of the BA lounge (more out than in – it was packed) we eventually boarded a most uneventful flight home, other than every passenger carefully watching every other passenger.

So when the question arises “Where were you on September the 11th 2001?” I always say I was with Chris Elsmore, enjoying his company, in Stuttgart Airport waiting for a plane, feeling slightly anxious.

After this event we both developed a healthy scepticism of flying – it didn’t stop either of us continuing to globe-trot but it did create a cautiousness in 2 lads from the Midlands; it turned both of us into people watchers and never complaining about increased security precautions.

There were many other experiences, but one which sticks in the mind, was your Dad’s leaving doo when he left i2 to join Business Objects. It was a usual pub crawl around Windsor ending with 20-30 people in a Mexican restaurant somewhere under the station (I doubt I could ever find it again). Unbeknown to everyone else this coincided with another life event for your Dad (which is best covered in another discussion) but it was a great night out with far too many jugs of double strength Margarita, a real party atmosphere and characterised by your Dad’s magnanimous and generous nature when he paid the bill, point blank refusing to let anyone else contribute. But that was the mark of the man – the Life and Soul, Generous to a fault, always happy even in the most challenging of circumstances.

He will be very sadly missed by all, he has thousands of contacts around the world many of them are shared with many of his friends on this Facebook page but many are not on Facebook. I will share more from them with you on a separate contribution. Your Dad epitomised the world of collaboration and lived the concept of “any friend of yours is a friend of mine”, welcoming everyone with open arms!

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