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  • Writer's pictureEllen Worrell

In memory of a former colleague

Yesterday afternoon I did battle with the M25 in the rain to attend the funeral of a former colleague. He was the office's technical guru and you could show him a picture of a nut/bolt/screw (you name it, in fact) and he could tell you what it was in English, German, Spanish, and even Chinese in some cases.

He was a quiet man but loved to share his considerable knowledge with anyone who was interested enough to listen. He adored playing the guitar, tinkering with his vintage Ducati motorbikes and solving cryptic crosswords - he used to set the office a clue and leave us to all scratch our heads while he popped downstairs for a cigarette. I was only ever able to solve one of them: 5 letters, H I J K L M N O. Answers on a postcard please.

To many, he stood out for his desire to learn and his love of languages, but to me, he stood out for one reason in particular: he took a risk on me as a fledgling translator. I applied for an in-house translator position before I had even completed my MA course, and it turns out he marked my test translation. While the score said I'd failed, he stuck up for me and told the company's MD that I had a talent and would flourish if I was given a chance. It is thanks to him that I got my foot on the translation ladder and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Today I am listening to Chuck Berry in his honour.

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