It seems my hero may not last the day. Martyn Graham Farley, my grandfather.
When I was a child, I thought he knew everything. As I grew up and realised that nobody knows everything, there was a part of me that considered that if anyone came close, it would be Grandpa.
When I was a boy mourning the death of my father, he was someone who also missed Dad, someone who could tell me stories about him, someone who shared many of Dad’s views of the world.
As an adult, Grandpa has been a link to my past. A time when I lived on the other side of the world, when Christmases were cold, and life was carefree.
I have had conversations with him that I’m sure I will remember forever. I wanted him to be always around so that we could continue having them. I remember talking to him on the phone (long-distance) during the last overs of the cricket when England beat Australia, and celebrating England’s rugby wins with him. I remember telling him about my kids being born, and about the child of mine he may never meet.
He is always passionate. Always caring. A man who adores his wife and family.
He’s strong. “The heart of an ox,” his doctor said a handful of years ago. When the rest of his body failed him, his heart remained ever powerful. Literally and metaphorically.
His mind has always been incredible. He wasn’t just the person who knew everything there was to know, but he achieved everything there was to achieve: a successful career at Rolls Royce, rising to become MD of the Small Engine Division; a Professor Emeritus at the Royal Military College; Engineer of the Year; President of the Royal Aeronautical Society; on the boards of several universities. He even helped NASA with the Shuttle engine. There was nothing he couldn’t do. If he had achieved that today, he would be all over the Internet. Instead, there’s a only a couple of pages that refer to his work in setting up a school for managers in engineering at Cranfield.
He has been my hero in so many ways. I have looked for similarities in the mirror, and hoped to be like him. I have enjoyed every time he’s told me he’s proud of me.
Above all, he has been my friend. I pray I see him again one day.