Sunday, March 23, 2008

Herry's Trinity House Retirement Speech

This is an extract from Herry's speech at his retirement party at Trinity House on 13th April 2006 dealing with his partners and colleagues. The full speech is available on his Journal here.

Amongst those who have flattered my career are of course a number of my colleagues, several of them who have already passed into that amazing post-Miller state in which they look 20 years younger than they did before they retired.  I can't avoid mentioning two or three key people, although many more than that qualify.  First Bill Birch Reynardson, whose unwise invitation while shooting with my father to send young Herry up to Millers instead of to the bar was the luckiest break in my life, as well as his wonderful tutelage, both in matters of business and also in how to travel in style in places like Yugoslavia and India – not to mention Bahgdad, I have never forgotten.  The late Frank Ledwith, of course, who taught all of us who joined Miller's in the '60s, indoctrinating us in his year-long programme entitled ‘The Complete Mutual Insurance Man’ - I wish we still used it today. And Terence Coghlin, who I sat with when I first came up to Miller's from university. My attempts  to learn from him what he knew of P&I and Defence and about marvellous places like Japan, left his brain practically untouched.  David Martin-Clark too, was an immense help to me in many ways, particularly in the early days of the running of ITIC.  He was also my predecessor in Asia and left that ground well-tilled.  

Finally, I must mention my former secretary of over 20 years, Jo Johns, who I am glad to say has made it up here tonight from playing Widow Twankey in the panto at Cowes - although I am still well served by my current secretary, Pam Costello, who has organised this evening so excellently.  There is no denying that an exceptional secretary plays a key part in one's career.  Just to give you a flavour of Jo’s work ethic, (while keeping very quiet about her still more remarkable life and loves), she used to reach the office at 6 am every morning, and didn't leave until late in the evening.  The early mornings, she knew, were when I must reply to faxes from Japan, because the Japanese would expect to have an answer to the questions they sent the same day, before they themselves went home.  Nowadays, I suppose it's more efficient to bash out an e-mail oneself, but something is lost in the harmonious flow of work from the time when your secretary knew exactly what work you were doing.

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