I'm going to start by talking about the last contact I had with Roger was an email dated Tuesday 8th June, which I'm going to read to you...
Very pleased to see that you had a very respectable turnout and good weather for the relaunch of Quizwalks.
Well done for starting us off on the front foot.
He was referring to a quizwalk that I organised the Sunday before, which was the start of our walking season as the lifting of restrictions now allowed them to take place.
This goes some way to show what sort of person Roger was, kind, caring and always encouraging, quick to give positive feedback and always congratulating people's efforts when they did anything for our club.
In fact over the last few weeks I've heard stories of help and advice Roger had provided for many of his friends and family on both professional and personal levels. And since his death many tributes have been rolling in.
He was a true gentleman and made the world a much better place. Right up until the end and whilst suffering from ill health he was still making phone calls and sending emails to make sure everything in our club was organised.
I had no idea how ill Roger was, he didn't want me or anyone else to know "I don't want anyone to fuss" he said to me in a recent phone call.
Penny and I first met Roger and Joyce in the late 90's when we got involved in quizwalking, if there's any of you here that haven't heard of it, we're a walking club that organise 3 or 4 mile circular walks from a pub, usually in Surrey, with clues to solve along the way and Roger certainly wouldn't mind me talking about it!
We soon become good friends and Roger was someone that I looked up. In the days when social functions were allowed, I remember inviting Roger and Joyce to various parties. Roger was very charismatic, gifted with being able to hold an audience captive with his conversation and wit, even though he'd never met most of them before and they were of a completely different age group, this was one of his many qualities that I admired.
I've already touched on the subject that Roger would have wanted me to talk about - Quizwalking! We're not the Rambling Association so I won't go on and on!
He always enjoyed a good joke and had a great sense of humour even if he was on the receiving end!
Quizwalks were a lifelong passion for Roger, which spanned over 64 years; he was a real pillar and an ambassador of our club, he was present on the very first quizwalk in 1957 at the age of 14.
Since then he's given a life time of service and commitment to this club, amongst many other things, he's organised a staggering 89 quizwalks, he's been our Membership Secretary for the last 15 years. Putting in a huge amount of work and effort keeping everyone informed of up and coming events, organising the end of season lunches, promoting the club with the local press, and co-organising the 50th & 60th years anniversary celebrations, for which we owe him a massive debt of gratitude.
Roger meant so much to our club that at the 60th Anniversary lunch in 2017 he was given special award for long service and dedication, the only person to have every received such an award. And we kept it a secret so he had no idea he was getting it!
It was presented to him by Chris Cooper, the daughter of our founder John Cooper.
He also assisted me in my role as chairman, Roger was conscious that I have my own business and family so time is limited. He helped me prepare speeches, newsletters, meeting agendas and deal with club matters as and when they arose, he and Joyce also hosted many of our AGM's over the years, we worked very well together and his passing has left a big hole in our club and all our lives.
One of our members, Robert Whale, described Roger as literally a walking legend.
Another - Rosy Treasure, said "it was a great joy and privilege to have known him since meeting in 1979. One in a million...
Both are here today.
I'd like to finish by repeating the same promise to Roger that he made to Les Bradbury (one of our former chairman) when he spoke at his funeral back in April 2006...
Yes, Roger, we will miss you. But rest assured that in the years to come we will be out there in the countryside doing all we can to keep alive the tradition of quizwalking to which you contributed so much in your life.