Cheryl & Chris | Carol | Mina | Gayle | Rachelle | Zoe | Bella | Rosa | Kevin | James | David | Richard
 
   

You know how some friends are just meant to be? Well that’s Rich. He’s my oldest and best friend. He’s always been there when I needed him and I know he’ll always be there in the future. Sure, we might not see each other for months, and might not speak for weeks, but it doesn’t matter. It never will.

I believe that Rich and I met on our first day at Uni way back in September 1994 (I’m going to have to check this – really, why is everything so fuzzy!!). If it wasn’t the first day it can’t have been long after that! We lived on the same ground floor corridor, his room was opposite mine. Whilst unpacking boxes one of us had tea and cake to hand. Turns out we both are pretty addicted to tea (that’s right – tea!) so there we had it, our first common ground.

Now it turned out that Rich was an Electronics student and with me being in Chemistry we didn’t see much of each other in the day. Rich is a lot cleverer than me (academically anyway [yes Mum – I know that’s poor grammar]), so he also spent a lot more time studying than me, which meant that I was out rock climbing whilst he was solving 5th order quadratic equations (I know, you’d have thought it should be other other way around!). Still, when you’ve got someone looking out for you, banging on the door with tea in hand to wake you up for lectures, and plying you with free beer whenever his dad turns up with a crate of Boddington’s you know it’s going to be a lasting friendship.

I’d like to say that I had a hand in matchmaking Rich and Sarah, his lovely wife. To an extent it might be true (ask him about it!) though I’m sure they were always destined for each other. They are a fabulous partnership and wonderful parents to their gorgeous daughter Zoe.

 

Many a night we’d spend in the college bar drinking Calders (one term it was cocktails, but after all the specialised glasses got stolen that pretty much closed down the cocktail bar!!!), entering the quiz, or just getting free food from my burger bar (yes – I ran the burger bar!!!). One of my favourite things still is confusing Rich by speaking “northern”. To this day he still has little idea what I’m saying, and if Ed and I get together he’s REALLY in the dark!

Time rolled on, we moved into separate corridors, different houses and made new friends but we were still the closest of mates. I got to meet his family (as far I’m concerned his little sister is still 8 and has no business being a police officer!) and was christened with the wonderful nick-name “Joe 90” by his Dad. Not that I can blame him – have you seen pictures of me 15 years ago!??!

We had some cracking laughs, and some cracking times (and some not so – was it your Sister’s 18th birthday that was a bit pearshaped?)

After Uni I moved to Stevenage and Rich back to Dartford. We still see each other as often as possible. I’ve helped him with his never ending DIY (though I generally try and get out of that as much as possible), pointed his common sense back in the right direction and been there for him as much as I can. We swapped the bar for Corney & Barrow (which is a little more expensive, but I like pretending I’m a rich city trader) and the burgers for Pizza Express. Our evenings out in London are another very rare treat that I treasure once in a blue moon.

 

On top of all that it’s been my privilege to be there to watch Zoe grow up to the beautiful little girl she is. She’ll make the most adorable flower girl!

So … to Rich: Thanks for the good times; Thanks for the friendship; Thanks for being there when there was no-one else; and of course … thanks for all the tea!