it is often said that you can judge the impact of a life by judging the flow of warmth and affection after a person has passed away. Sadly for me I was unable to attend a recent memorial service for a man who was greatly liked and admired throughout his career as a senior executive in the once former National Bus Company.
Douglas Adie was an accountant who spent his career working in various roles within NBC. He was a close personal friend of my father and mother. And Douglas and Jane enjoyed many a laughter fuelled dinner at my parents home. Douglas was a highly intelligent and astute man. Indeed one of the themes that came out at the memorial was just how admired and liked he was as a leader. He held posts as a General Manager as they were called back in the day, most notably at Oxford Motor Services.
In fact there was a small but perfectly formed team of four senior directors who were responsible for overseeing the welfare and fortunes of the many Bus Companies that were part of the Midlands and Southern region of the National Bus Companie. The team was headed up By John Hargreaves, a tough but able Yorkshireman who has served with the Royal Marines. A larger than life personality and a man with a reputation of high expectations of delivery from those who reported into him.
Supporting John Hargreaves was my dad John Birks, the diplomat of the quartet, John Badger another very competent and likeable man, and equally important, the numbers man, none other than Douglas Adie. The amiable Scot with a a dry sense of humour and a brain like a computer. Indeed the last time that I saw Douglas was at John Hargreaves funeral, I took my mother and we all enjoyed a good catch up with a lot of mirth and reminiscing, indeed one of my overriding memories of Douglas was that he was a man who made people laugh, while also enjoying a relaxed management style that embued great loyalty, and admiration from those who worked for him.
On reflection a good man, who enjoyed a real and successful career, raised a lovely family and while he never lost his Scottish roots, of which he was justifiably proud, he made Oxfordshire his home. I was saddened that I could not attend the memorial but I am not in the least bit surprised that Douglas was spoken of so fondly. His sense of fun was one of his key attributes, and without talking out of school, climbing trees to escape from a locked park in central London with some other very well known senior bus leaders will remain as one of many anecdotes that will always be linked to Douglas and his generation. Of the 4 who lead the team back in the day only John Badger remains. All good men who made a positive difference back in the day, and lets face it at the end of the day that is what matters. The value of respect that is felt when good people Cross The Jordan as General Bernard Montgomery used to say.