I went to a funeral yesterday at the rather lovely Oxford crematorium, located in the middle of nowhere. I have to say that of all the crematoriums around the UK that I have been to this was by far the most peaceful and scenic I have yet encountered.
Not that I make a morbid effort to visit such places for days out, no thank you very much I can think of much nicer places to go. I go when I need too and when I want too. So it was that I went to pay my final respects to a man that had a big and positive influence on the life of myself and my family.
John Banks Hargreaves was a big man in both physic, character, and charisma. He rose through the ranks back in the day of what was then the mighty National Bus Company to become one of the the most senior Directors of the NBC . He was a proud Yorkshire man who typified the spirit of Yorkshire folk and told it like it was. As his grand daughter said at the funeral, he called a shovel a shovel and occasionally a spade.
My dad’s career and John’s were inter linked, two very different people with opposing skill sets together they made a great team and went onto do great things. John loved to challenge people and he was very good at it. Some people mostly those who were not very good at their job were scared of him (one of his nick names was GBH rather than JBH with back then GBH being a Police term for Grievous Bodily Harm!)
Most people loved John, he could be very kind and when you got to know the man not the Director he was like most hard man underneath a good man. He was also a man of vision and back in the days of early NBC privatisation he encouraged local management teams to lead Company buy outs which some of us did. This included me, for which I was always grateful.
John was formally a Royal marine commando, these men are some of the toughest nuts in the worlds military and and Johns business toughness resonated his military experiences. But back in the day that was what people of the generation who had been through the second world war understood. A very different time from today but that is to be expected.
So, farewell John, a life well lived you made your positive mark on this world.