Remembering Chris, a eulogy from Peter Northing and Chris’ funeral
Ladies and Gentlemen
Let me start by saying what an honour it is to be able to offer a few words of
tribute to truly one of the greatest guys I have ever known
… our mate – Chris Elsmore
I met Chris at Aston University in 1988, and as many of you will have seen on
Facebook, they were some wonderful years …. friendships were forged that
will last a lifetime ….
Chris was a part of wide group, bound together by a love for living life to the
full …. laughing until it hurt …. getting into unmentionable scrapes ….
…….and then doing it all over again …
And whilst most of us cruised through these years academically … doing just
enough to graduate with a respectable degree – Chris somehow juggled
doing a ‘proper degree’ – which involved real hard work and intelligence –
whilst never missing a single second of the fun ….
…. and for sure we were all the richer for it.
My personal favourite university moment with Chris was, according to him,
entirely my fault ….
Chris and I were just exiting the gents at student bar in Birmingham Uni and
were heading back to join our mates ….
…Who it was that started the fire extinguisher foam fight remains the point
However, a whole lot of foam and a few security guards later, we were both
ejected and sent on our way ….
What security didn’t account for was Chris’ point blank refusal to quit on a
good night out…
Before you could say Jack (or is it Mark) Robinson, we discovered a few
ladders and some scaffolding at the side of the building where the bar was…
We then proceeded to risk life and limb scaling the side of the building
before re-entering through a 2nd floor window and returning triumphantly to
the bar and to the amazement and admiration of our mates …..
Sadly our epic achievement and moment of fame was short lived ….being
soaked to the skin in fire extinguisher foam, we were a little too conspicuous
as we celebrated our success….
With no sympathy for our heroic efforts .. .we were once again sent on our
This time we decided to console ourselves with a curry – delighted with our
minor victory over authority no matter how short-lived …
As always with Chris there are way too many stories to recap, but we can’t
do justice to the Aston years without referencing a few more very briefly:
– There was the “Chippy Elsmore” discovery – when Chris confessed to
owning a carpenters tool belt – furthermore he demonstrated a
remarkable skill for using it’s contents to fix broken door locks – this
was exceedingly helpful as it saved us from a University fine on
frequent occasions most particularly for serial key-forgetter Ian
– I remember Chris’ insanely tidy bedroom – and the childish delight
we would take (Ade and Pearty) at messing it up whenever Chris’ back
was turned – we always joked that he kept his CD collection in
alphabetical order … but actually he did !
– Also, the gold spray paint mis-hap as Chris prepared for a fancy dress
party one night – We dissolved into tears of laughter as he discovered
there are certain places that gold spray should not be used….
– And most famously Chris’ position as a stalwart of the Aston
University Football Club – I don’t think he ever actually graced the
field for the club in 4 years of membership, however given that the
team’s true talent lay in post-match celebrations …. Chris was for sure
Stoke’s very own Galactico.
Whichever way you look at it, Chris was central to the many many happy
memories and lasting friendships at Aston ….
As we all headed off into the ‘grown-up’ world of careers and making our
way through life, Chris always led the charge to extract every last ounce of
fun and opportunity from travels, weekends and friendships….
Chris also gave the maximum in his work….
He worked exceptionally hard, this, combined with his intellect resulted in a
stellar career … always underpinned with Chris’ amazing ability to connect
with people of all nationalities and cultures ….He was universally recognised
for achieving success through collaboration, professionalism, and with
utmost integrity, in every role that he had.
The international nature of his jobs fed Chris’ love of travel and adventure,
…..whilst also fuelling his “always double-booked” reputation …. never have
I met a man who so despised missing a night-out ….
…furthermore he was remarkable in his ingenuity to ensure he somehow
could get to wherever the fun was …
…. In his younger days the hilarity of Chris’ road-trips the length and breadth
of the UK in a beaten-up Fiat Panda will never be forgotten.
Constantly juggling his time, Chris excelled in finding ways to meet with
friends and make friends wherever he might be around the world…. he
would delight at:
“squeezing in a cheeky beer”
and more often than not, this would result in yet another
“oh what a night !” ….
Hardly surprising therefore that Chris’ passing has today bought together
friends from across the world, and in the near future he will also be
remembered at gatherings in Canada and the US.
I often joked with Chris that I would write his book
– The Legend of Elsmore –
and that we’d have a chapter on Stag do’s (and Stag don’ts), a chapter on
the the Aston years, The Leuven Years, Stoke, Bondi Beach, Singapore,
…British Airways lounges around the world … and the list goes on … there
was never a shortage of material ….
But I know for sure that for Chris, the most important chapter in any such
book would be entitled, Family
Chris loved deeply his Mum, his Dad, his Grandad, Steve, Hayley, and his
nieces … he would somehow manage (as usual in a doubled-booked sort of
way) to find time to visit and make an important place for them in his life ….
Chris was so proud of his brother Steve and all that Steve has achieved as
one of the country’s leading Consultant Surgeons in his field….
On so many occasions, on a night out, Chris would would delight in calling
“Another prescription from The Doc Elsmore”
… and then return from the bar with a huge tray of large Cognacs for
For sure I know that he would have the same prescription for me right
The absolute light of Chris’ life has been of course, Simone and Jude,
The happiness that he found with Simone was apparent from day one – it all
started with a blind date, it grew to become a marriage, and soon
There were plenty more happy stories over the years, from San Fran, via
Taylorville, and back to Notting Hill, in his usual globe-trotting way.
Chris was always in awe of how Simone is such a great mother to Jude, and
she was someone with whom he could never spend enough time …..
He was also immensely proud to be Jude’s Dad
– He treasured their trips to the park every weekend,
– He loved taking Jude to soccer school…. controversially burdening the
young lad with a Stoke City shirt …
– And Chris’ decision to accompany Jude to a kids birthday party dressed
as Superman was nothing short of priceless …..
In writing this I have dismissed the idea of “the Legend of Elsmore” – it really
does not do justice to Chris and to his memory…
I think we should remember the “Spirit of Chris Elsmore” …
Let’s remember the huge smile, the twinkle in his eye, the laughter, the love,
his caring, and as my son Tom mentioned to me – he’ll always remember a
huge hug from his godfather Chris …
… and so this is not a book with chapters or with an end…
Simone and Jude – Chris loved you more than any words can ever say – and
he will be so pleased looking down on us if we can grasp life and embrace
every opportunity to make the very best of it at every turn.
… Jude – he will be immensely proud to know that as you grow up, you will
have thought of him, and have been inspired by his fun, his positivity, his
warmth, his generosity, his optimism, and his love for living …
… and for sure – I know you already have his fantastic smile and his
incredible charm ….
…wherever we might be across all corners of this wide-world ….
let us remember Chris for the joy that he bought to our lives,
and let his amazing spirit live-on in our hearts and our minds every day…..