Roger Baynton-Williams

Roger Baynton-Williams, my uncle, died on 27 July 2o11. His obituarty can be read here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/aug/18/roger-baynton-williams-obituary

I wrote some words for the eulogy at his funeral on 11 August 2011 at Chichester Crematorium, Sussex.

Memories of Roger bring a smile to my face. One of the most striking ones would be his laughter: distinct and infectious. And this was the face of a man with great passion in business and family life.

Roger at leisure was a man with his sleeves rolled up and getting involved. On days out he was often leading a terrifying charge through the bracken in Richmond Park, his sole ambition to ‘kick-the-can’ before a son, niece or nephew had the audacity to beat him.

For a number of years a great family tradition was to share Christmas. This would rotate around the houses of Roger and his sisters – four families under one roof. Keeping the children ‘under control’ by getting them to chase a Christmas pudding through a house and a garden was one of his specialities (it was some years before I discovered the pudding wasn’t actually under the basin). Dressing up as Santa was also one of his tasks despite being less then convincing in his red garb.

Witnessing Roger in his business life, from a family perspective, was always good. Style mixed with energy, handkerchiefs in jacket pockets and stripy shirts, Jenson Interceptors and Lancia Deltas: Roger was always seen as a hardworking business leader enjoying the challenges and being successful.

This package often made him a role model for others and I know he influenced me in my early career. I’m not sure he was ever aware of this and if he had been told he would probably not have believed it. In my formative years it was good to have a role model to keep me focussed in a positive direction. And here was an example of someone running a business and enjoying life all at the same time: work was an occupation and life should be fun. Perhaps the abiding lesson for me was to be a specialist and have a focus, whatever ones situation.

Roger cast a long and positive shadow and now leaves many fond memories.