Editor's Blog

Final whistle for GGF

Those of our readers who have been around the blocks awhile will remember Geoffrey Gray Forton, who sadly died between Christmas and New Year (see news section). GGF (as he was known to most) was a curious mixture of things: he was by turns hugely funny and extremely serious; he was also a football fanatic and an outstanding referee. He continued to play the game well into his fifties. He refereed as he did everything, in the best way he could - sticking to the laws of the game and was a timekeeper of teutonic habits, even in the most informal of games. Once, in an annual event industry match in Geneva for which GGF was always 'man-in-the-middle', I wheezed up alongside him and suggested that the average age of our lads meant our team would benefit from the mercy of an early whistle. GGF bellowed without a hint of recognition: "Go away, number 8 - away!"

I did, and quite quickly, too! After all, GGF was a proper ref - he had refereed World Cup matches!

This stern mask was what was mostly on view when he was at work, particularly when terrifying panellists in one of his famous destination conferences - he specialised in humiliating incompetent clients!

However, outside of work Geoffrey and his wife Barbara made an amusing double act and were hugely entertaining company. He was a real character. Bon voyage, Geoffrey....

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