When I sat down to write this I realised that I could be stood here for hours trying to do justice to one of the worlds most amazing individuals. Who I am proud to say was my son. He was an amazing Dad and if he thought of you as a friend he would have gone to hell and back for you, he would also have got you pissed out of your tree and if you reached the point where your body said no more he would simply say “POWER THROUGH IT”. And you would at some point be eating the bluest steaks you have ever seen or tried.
He had some tough breaks in life but still remained the happiest most generous person I have known and the biggest driving force in his life was to make others happy, when asked once by Lynsey, when people come round why do you give them all your most expensive alcoholic drinks, his reply was “I want other people to experience and enjoy the good things in life that I do”.
So let’s start at the beginning even before he took his first breath he was mischievous and started causing the mayhem he always loved. He decided he was coming into this world six weeks early, and nothing the doctors tried could stop him arriving with us early, causing chaos, as I was still, in those days a days travel away from Truro hospital on my fitters course. We planned to christen him on his first birthday, Had it all planned church, party afterwards, and family and friends travelled from all over the country, what does Gavin do, he has the one and only fit he has ever had in his life the night before. So after ambulance and doctors etc and a completely sleepless night we had to rearrange everything and have him christened at home. Life was never dull with Gavin. We brought him a skate board one year for Christmas next thing I know, I have the grocery delivery man knocking on my door “can you stop your son and his mate from hanging of the back of my van riding their skateboards as I drive round quarters please” another time we had a very irate window cleaner. Somebody thought it would be funny to take a crap in his bucket, yep you’ve guessed some young lad called Gavin. It’s at this point I have to admit to being a bad parent, at probably some where around 8 years of age unbeknown to us Gavin was sneaking glugs of wine from his mums wine glass first thing we knew of it he was giggling his head off staggering about the front room. I am guessing that started his love of a good drink.
As with all scaily brats he was never in one place very long as I dragged him to various locations around the world. He would make new and long lasting friends where ever we went from all age groups. I have had lots of nice messages from old friends and the one reoccurring sentiments is that Gavin always looked after/out for our kids. At the many BBQs we went to he would take himself of and get involved with the singles and their shinanigans and buggeritus, I am guessing this is where he honed and improved to perfection his love of mischief. He was never a bad kid but I have had many a visit to Officer I/Cs and police interview rooms bailing him out of scrapes.
And to this day Gavin would would come to me with he words “Dad I have a problem how do I sort it out”. I just feel so sad and empty that he didn’t do that this time.
After he left school he went into the pub catering trade where he learned his passion for cooking and food and would probably still be in that trade if his good nature hadn’t been taken advantage of and abused. So he left and joined the RAF. One of my proudest days with him was his passing out parade only marred by the fact that he had chosen to sign up as a rigger. He took to the military life style like a fish to water his work hard play hard ethic, which I am sure is known by many here, earned him the amazing reputation he deserves, the escapades and scrapes are endless and many more than I probably am aware of, so i will just name one which sums him up at probably his best. Whilst in the falklands he befriended a st helinian, and in true Gavin style he would do any thing for a friend. So the story goes, his friend had a motorbike in the falklands that he wanted to get back to his home island. This would entail shipping from the Falklands to Ascension Island then on to st helinia all by boat at a cost. Bit of background here, you could as a serving member of the forces get personal possessions shipped back to the Uk using the military aircraft flights. Gavin worked on visiting aircraft servicing flight at the time and used his position to bribe, I would imagine with booze and con the aircrew of a visiting RAF transport aircraft to take the motorbike (supposedly his) to Ascension Island. The only trouble was there was surprisingly intelligent and vigilant snowdrop in the ascensions who spotted the con job. So poor Gavin ends up in OC police’s office facing charges which included, smuggling and misappropriation of military equipment and services. Not quite sure how, but he managed to wriggle his way out of all the charges in true Gavin style.
Not long after this Gavin had a son and not long after that became through no fault of his own a single parent, as many of you are aware within the military environment this is one hell of a challenge, one which Gavin took on and excelled at, he was the most amazing farther anyone could wish for, he always did the best he could for his son. Making me the proudest now grandad in the world.
Gavin was always coming up with crazy ideas and stunts, when ever I received a phone call from Gavin the second line of the conversation usually went along the lines of “what do you think about this or do you think this is a good idea or do you think I can make money out of this scheme ” I would still get these calls. even though he was 40 years old. I will miss these calls.
We where both, could I say slightly opinionated and would get in to lengthy, heated often loud debates, but would always agree to disagree in the end, I will miss these debates as well.
I think one of his craziest ideas was to take up miniature motor bike racing, nowt even your average fully grown man looks a bit silly on one of these but Gav at 6’3 built like a very large brick shithouse took this image to completely new level.
It was whilst in the RAF that Gavin found another passion in his, life he took up rugby and actually he was quite good at it. I watched him a few times and saw a completely different side to my son, a passion and teamsmanship which again made me even more proud of him. During our time serving queen and country Gavin’s relationship with me changed massively, we went from farther and son to best buddies, and drinking partners. And again got into many scrapes together, I will relate to just one. Whilst at RAF Marham Gavin received an award for spotting an engineering issue that everyone else had missed and could have led to a serious accident. I went down to see him receive the award and that evening accompanied him and his mates into Kingslynne to celebrate. In true RAF style we spotted a flag that would make a good trophy for the crew room wall, sadly the outcome was that we where both banned from all the nightclubs in kingslynne for the rest of that night.
And right up until his passing he was still my number one wing man. I feel very strongly about the persecution of the NI vets and when the call to demonstrate/parade in London on good Friday two years ago went out and I told him I was going, his first response was I will go with you, and he was up for any shinanigans that might have acurd . He accompanied me on a few of these protests. Travelling far and wide to attend. They where great times that would normally consist of a march/protest followed in true military style by a beer or ten with brothers from all branches of the armed forces and all the inter service banter that went with it. And stemming from this I will always remember his last crazy idea. He planned to high a trike for us to attend the next rolling thunder, I plan to honour him by still going a head with this crazy scheme.
A few years ago Gavin met Lynsey and after a while of them being together I knew that Gavin had finally found the one person who could make him truly happy, I have never seen him enjoy life so much, and in such a short time together they have made so many happy memories, He really blossomed.
We used to love to visit Lynsey and Gavin and on our way down Julia would always say “he is not going to get me drunk this time” but he always found a way to ensure she would end up pickled, and we always we had so much fun. Our last Christmas with them was just amazing, Gavin and myself attended a BBQ course specifically on how to cook Christmas dinner on a BBQ and in his own individual style he served up the most amazing banquet ever on Christmas Day.
Gavin was a larger than life person in so many ways and will leave a massive hole in so many peoples lives, I just hope he knew just how loved he was and that he has finally found peace, the world is going to be a much sadder place with out him in it.