St Bride's: News

Jeremy Goford Memorial

Jeremy Goford Memorial

Jeremy Goford
21st June 1945 – 25th February 2017

Download Order of Service (pdf)

On Thursday 4th May, 2017, at 2pm a service of thanksgiving and celerbation for the life of Jeremy Goford was held at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street.

OPENING

The Revd Canon Dr Alison Joyce delivered the opening:-

We are here to celebrate the life of Jeremy Goford, and to honour the memory of a man who was much loved and greatly respected by all who knew him.

The loss of a man who was outstanding in so many ways, is always hard to bear. But our task at this service is above all to give thanks, as we rejoice that the world was a richer place for his presence within it.

We begin with an opening prayer by the priest and poet John Donne. Let us pray:

Bring us, O Lord, at our last awakening
Into the house and gate of heaven,
To enter into that gate and dwell in that house
Where shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light;
No noise nor silence, but one equal music;
No fears nor hopes, but one equal possession:
No ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity
In the habitations of your glory and dominion,
World without end.

Amen.

ADDRESSES

John Bennett, Deputy

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Jeremy was my Best Man and my very best friend.

Jeremy and I were both Grammar School boys, one from the Midlands and one from the South, but both from modest backgrounds. Jeremy, and his brother Peter and I were the first in our families to go to university, and, to be at Christ Church in 1963 was indeed exiting, but also a great privilege. I was a Commoner but Jeremy was a Scholar and, as such, was called upon, from time to time, to recite the Latin grace before dinner, which he rather relished. Most of us can still recite it to this day.

In those early days at Oxford new friendships were made and quite soon Jeremy and I, and some four others, Alistair, Max, John and Stephen (all but Stephen are here today) became close and shared a number of interests, despite being a quite diverse bunch of lads reading different subjects, Maths, Biochemistry, Law, PPE and History. And for the next fifty or so years we would meet up regularly at Gaudies and other reunions.

For those first two years, we all had rooms in college and by the Trinity term of our first year we had firmly established a routine of tea in my rooms in Peckwater quad, which comprised of copious amounts of tea and huge slices of bread, cut from an enormous batch loaf from the JCR, together with butter and strawberry jam.

Trinity Term was also the term for punting. We had a punt syndicate where we had exclusive use of a College punt and there were many happy times on the river where Jeremy was the most enthusiastic launcher of the punt down the rollers at Parsons Pleasure and then jumping into it on the way down, perilous if you didn’t time your jump right.

Jeremy had rooms in Meadow Buildings, overlooking Christ Church Meadow, and on one occasion disturbed the tranquillity of the Meadow by placing his record player on the balcony and playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture at full blast to the passers-by.

In our third year Jeremy moved with Alistair, Max and Stephen to a flat in Warnborough Road, North Oxford, and it was then that he acquired a motorbike. We all have memories of that motorbike and hair-raising journeys through Oxford at high speed which, I know, put most of us off riding pillion, or owning a motorbike, for life. That includes me.

In that year, Jeremy and I shared a 21st birthday party at the Oxford University Officer Training Corps. HQ. Jeremy was a member and therefore had privileged access. Earlier that term he had introduced me to a girl, Jane, who was the friend of his girlfriend, Diane; both were at the 21st party, both accompanied us to the Christ Church Commem that term, and both subsequently became our respective wives.

Jeremy always took his work very seriously. Max remembers confronting him very late one night in the flat in Warnborough Road, sitting up in bed in his pyjamas doing a maths problem. Max scolded him for working so late trying to solve the problem. Jeremy responded that he’d already solved it and was now thinking of a better solution.

This deep thinking carried on into Jeremy’s professional life, as you will hear from Mike and Nick, but for him the delight of his next twenty years of marriage to Diane was his three children Charlotte, Giles and Julian. He was particularly proud that Charlotte followed him to study maths at Christ Church, and was taught for a short time by his old tutor, Handel Davies.

Giles, his elder son, spoke very movingly at Jeremy’s funeral about his Dad. I can’t hope to emulate his words or communicate the love that so obviously existed between them, but I will attempt to paraphrase some of Giles’s memories.

Many of you will nod in agreement when I say that Jeremy loved a ‘project’. Giles relates, by way of example, the project of the ‘Batmobile’. This was produced for a primary school fete competition and consisted of Giles’s modest bike kitted out with black painted balsa wood fuselage, complete with twin exhausts, from which fireworks could be lit, and a red Batman logo. It didn’t win as it was Dad-made, but Dad was pretty proud of his creation.

Another project organised with great proficiency was to get Giles, at that time a massive soccer fan, round all the grounds of the 92 football league clubs. It took 2 half-term holidays, but it was achieved to Jeremy’s intense satisfaction.

Giles’s poignant message to his Dad, delivered in a letter a week or so before Jeremy’s passing, and which I’m sure is echoed by both Charlotte and Julian, is simply this:

“Dad, you are by far my biggest hero. You taught me how to look at the positive side of life, to laugh, and to be someone who people want to be around”

For very many years after we left Oxford, Jeremy and I would do ‘lunch’. Jeremy loved doing ‘lunch’. We both worked in the City, or thereabouts, and those were the days when you could do lunch without feeling intensely guilty.

These lunches alternated between a venue he chose and one that I chose. Before the first course, but after the first drink had been ordered we would review our health from bottom to top, literally. Starting at the feet we would both work up to the head and relate the ailments we were suffering from and how they were getting better or getting worse and what we were doing about them. It didn’t matter how intimate the ailment was, it was thoroughly analysed. After that, with the ailments sorted, we would wander through work and almost inevitably Jeremy would arrive at one of his favourite subjects: ‘Customer Needs Focus’.

Jeremy worked in several organisations, Equity & Law, Tillinghast, Scandia, Barclays and this was to become his mantra. I now realise that this formed the basis of some significant work he did during those years. You will hear more of this from Mike.

For the last lunch before I retired in 2005 Jeremy treated me at one of his favourite restaurants ‘Mon Plaisir’. It was a particularly liquid lunch. I complained about my back. After the lunch, I was frog-marched to Wigmore Street to a shop specialising in orthopaedic devices and was persuaded by Jeremy to purchase quite the most expensive office chair in the shop. It continues to support my back to this day. Thanks JG.

In 1991 Jeremy married Jane, whom he clearly adored. This event, I think, must have been one of the triggers that developed Jeremy’s enthusiasm for the countryside. This was driven home to me very dramatically in 2008 when, after retirement, much to my astonishment, he and Jane bought Higher Marsh on the borders of Exmoor. I thought he was mad. He was a City boy, born and bred, like me. A house in the country? What was he thinking?

Well, when my Jane and I subsequently visited Higher Marsh, it became abundantly clear why they had acquired it and loved it. A fabulous house in a fabulous setting and, yes, it also provided the prospect of having innumerable ‘projects’ to keep him occupied well into retirement: the barn, the linney, the leit, the lake, all meticulously planned and executed. This didn’t mean, however, that he neglected his guests. Whether it was family or friends everyone was made enormously welcome with wonderful food and copious amounts of wine. Jane and Jeremy, and Jane and John, became the 4Js and along with the 2Ks, Kathy and Kevin, had many wonderful and hilarious holidays, both at Higher Marsh and at Les Glousses in France.

Jeremy’s passing leaves a great big hole in my life, and, I’m sure, in many others. He was a funny, generous, and genuinely lovely man, and I’ll miss him dearly.

Mike Tuohy

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Jeremy was a special person, a different person. When he greeted you he didn't shake your hand he gave you a big hug.

I first met Jeremy after he came down from Oxford and joined Equity and Law. We were both actuarial students but Jeremy raced through the exams while I took my time. I really got to know Jeremy well some seven years later when he joined a fledgling Tillinghast London office. The actuarial team was Jeremy, Chris Smart and myself and Richard Burrows as our student. By the way it's great to see Richard here today all the way from Sydney.

We were all young, ambitious and hard working but also enjoyed after hours socializing. It was during this period that Jeremy and a few friends organized a new dining club as a protest at the quality of food at the actuarial dining clubs.

The club was rather ostentatiously named the Very Expensive Dining Club. The VEDC continues till this day and many of its members are here today. Jeremy was a keen attendee for over forty years.

Jeremy played a big role in getting Tillinghast London off the ground but in 1982 he left to join his great friend Paul Bradshaw as chief actuary of the then start up Skandia Life. (Paul we all miss you, you should be here). It was while he was at Skandia that he wrote his paper "The Control Cycle". The very readable paper lays out an approach to managing the finances of an insurance company that was quite revolutionary at the time but is accepted practice now.

When Jeremy had a good idea he loved to share it with other people, so that when he returned to Tillinghast in 1984, the Control Cycle was frequently discussed. I suspect if you go back to the reports of the mid eighties the control cycle will get frequent mentions.

A year after returning Jeremy took over as the manager of the London office. During his seven years in that role he more than doubled the office making it the largest and most successful Tillinghast office worldwide. The quality of the recruits during this period was exceptional and many of them are here today.

Jeremy was a man of many talents and one of those as John noted was that he was very good at lunch. He knew how to lunch. I remember visiting from New York and the highlight of my visit was my lunch with Jeremy - by the conclusion all are problems appeared solved.

In 1992 Jeremy left to become CEO of Barclays Life. Around this time and for the rest of his career Jeremy became passionate about businesses primarily focusing on customer needs and then focusing on making it profitable. I believe that clashed with the banks short-term profit fixation and the relationship was not a happy one.

A year later he returned to Tillinghast for the third and last time as a very successful senior consultant and also stop gap manager. The firm ran into management problems in Hong Kong in 1998 and at very short notice Jeremy moved there and stayed seven months and sorted the problem. We actually wanted him to stay and offered Jane an opportunity to broaden her experience to include Hong Kong tax but she wisely turned it down.

In 2004 Jeremy retired from Tillinghast and started his NED career. He had various with profit committee positions and was NED at Paternoster and Scottish Widows, where Sandy Leitch was his chairman. Sandy became a very good friend of Jeremy and was kind enough to forward me his tribute. I think you'll find that it really captures the essence of Jeremy in his later years.

Now quoting directly from Sandy

"Jeremy Goford was a complete paradox

He was an actuary with a heart."

Jeremy was a unique mixture of Roundhead and Cavalier

On the one hand he had a remarkable and brilliant actuarial left brain forged through years of experience. There was nothing he didn't know about actuarial thought. The rightly proud author of the 'Actuarial Control Cycle'.

As a Cavalier, Jeremy was warm, funny, colourful, emotional, eccentric, idiosyncratic and often a romantic old fool. He talked openly about his Irish Claddagh ring and tie pin which were symbols of his great love for Jane. Shooting vermin squirrels on Exmoor with an air-rifle was a pastime in which he liked to indulge. He was a veritable Don Quixote, ready to take on a romantic cause and tilt at windmills.

Jeremy was great company. His love of good food and lively company was well known. But he also could get bees in his bonnet and drone on too much. Sandy recalls having to listen many times to Jeremy's 'dominance theory'. He can’t recall what the theory was - only that he always agreed with it.

Sandy closed by expressing his enormous fondness for Jeremy and his admiration for the man he was and the true friend he became”

Sandy thank you for that great tribute.

About fifteen months ago sadly Jeremy could no longer carry on his NED responsibilities. Far too young. He was amazing during his illness with an uncomplaining positive attitude to the last and Jane was so incredibly supportive. Mags and I visited Dulverton for a couple of days in January to say goodbye but even though his speech was faltering he was still the same positive Jeremy. His lunch skills never deserted him.

Jeremy, you had a life well lived, full of achievement and fun. You were a very good friend to me and to many others judging by this great turnout. We all miss you very much.

Nick Salter

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It is a great honour to be able to give one of Jeremy’s tributes and I will cover his contribution to the Actuarial Profession. I am grateful to Tom Ross for some of this for reasons that will become obvious.

Jeremy was one of those actuaries who realised that actuaries would have a greater say in the world in which we worked if we could communicate effectively with those around us and if we focussed on what those who depended on us actually wanted. To do this he needed to have a position where he could make a difference and so he got involved with the Institute of Actuaries first on a technical level and later on an organisational and leadership level.

As well as being interested in the communication of ideas, Jeremy was no mean technician and his paper on the control cycle which Mike mentioned earlier was ground breaking and the policyholders of UK (and other) insurance companies have a lot to thank Jeremy for in bringing forward a management process which helped to avoid the impacts of the credit crunch which hit the banks so hard. I have a message from Professor Chee-gang CeeA of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics which I received yesterday in which he stressed that the control cycle was critical in the development of Chinese insurance companies after the country opened up to the outside world in 1979. He signed off his message with the following words:

“There is no doubt in my mind that Jeremy has had a profound and lasting impact on China’s actuarial profession. His name appears in the core readings, text books, industry talks and historical milestones. From his professional innovations to his personal support, he has been a virtual custodian to generations of actuaries and scholars in their endeavour to serve the long-term good of the profession and the society. He will always be remembered in fondness and reverence.”

Apart from the control cycle, Jeremy saw structural dangers in various operational aspects of insurance and other companies and, like Sandy, I also spent hours listening to his discourses on dominance risk (not always entirely willingly!) But no one said that being a trail blazer is easy and being pushed out of my comfort zone was never going to feel that comfortable. It made for some heated discussions!

But he also helped the profession to update and modernise its education process and syllabus. Now this is not work that a volunteer undertakes lightly – there are many individuals with their own ideas both amongst other volunteers and within the executive of the profession. Jeremy took the role and chaired a steering group tasked with developing a new education framework and a paper entitled “Principles of the future education strategy” was presented to meetings of the Institute and the Faculty in January 2001, and that framework was developed into the syllabus which has been in place since 2005. The strategy, which is strongly reflective of Jeremy’s own views, has stood the test of time.

He became President of the Institute in 2002 – 2004 where his primary drive was to get actuaries to see things from the customer’s perspective and by customers he meant policy-holders not just those who paid our fees. His mantra of Customer Needs Focus was lost on me – I took it as Customer Focus but it was, as ever, cleverer than that – we need to focus on customer needs not just on the customer. He was a man who would often think outside the box – sometimes a slightly uncomfortable place for actuaries to be. He left big ripples behind him as the rest of us struggled to keep up.

When Jeremy was President of the Institute, Tom Ross was President of the Faculty – in those days we had separate professional bodies in England and Scotland. The profession was, however, mostly run as a combined body and our presidents at that time, known, obviously as Tom and Jerry, worked well together. They also travelled together and Jeremy was a good person to travel with because of his ability to talk about anything and to make it fun with a glass or two of wine, brandy, scotch or, frankly, anything going. Tom tells some great stories of Jeremy on their international trips (they visited the Taj Mahal after a conference in New Delhi. It sounds good but apparently it was an extremely uncomfortable journey. Jeremy made light of it. "If like me you always flew economy, you would have been better prepared" he reassured the rest of them!). Tom also recalls Jeremy’s sartorial elegance with his cream suits and colourful ties helping to dispel the image of dull British actuaries!

One of my partners tells me that Jeremy is the reason that she is an actuary. She remembers sitting in her parents’ lounge in the early eighties whilst he enthused her about joining the profession, advised her to do maths not actuarial science at university and pretty much got her her first job at Skandia Life in Southampton. For Jeremy the merits of being an actuary were always front of mind.

The other area that I want to cover is the Worshipful Company of Actuaries. Jeremy was clothed as a Liveryman in 1985 and became the 27th Master of the company in 2005. He identified that actuaries could and should have a larger role in the financial affairs of London and the UK and that the livery company could make this happen. He was therefore instrumental in establishing the Financial Services Group of modern livery companies to advise the Lord Mayor more effectively for his/her meetings at home or abroad and became its first chairman. He was awarded the Company’s Award of Honour last year (only the 7th time it has been awarded to an individual in nearly 40 years) in recognition of his achievements. He was hugely proud of what he achieved at the Livery. The Financial Services Group will be holding a memorial lecture in September in Jeremy’s honour.

Through all of this, I watched and played a supporting role. I served on various committees while Jeremy was President of the IoA. I helped him at the WCA, serving on the Merchandising Committee (it was just the two of us and our meetings were always held over lunch – I agree, he did do lunch well). But I was lucky because I saw him out of work too and spent a lot of time with him with our respective wives, sisters Jane and Susie, whether over a weekend at their parents’ house (he was always keen to be given a project to work on) or on holiday (Jeremy was what I would describe as an “enthusiastic” skier – I think out of a keen-ness to get to a lunch stop). I was not at all surprised that he loved Dulverton because he always seemed absolutely at home in the garden or the woods. We also had endless fun in the evenings; as you know, Jeremy knew that what he knew was right so when he told us that he could tell white port from red port, we blindfolded him and it turned out that he was bluffing!

Jeremy, you will be long remembered for all the fun that you gave us and the challenges that you set that we may not yet have achieved, but we will all continue to try.


READINGS

Psalm 121 read Giles Goford

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121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Jane Arkle read He is gone by David Harkins

Read text...

You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived

 You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left

 Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared

 You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

 You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on  

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

MUSIC

The choir & organist of St Bride's performed the following anthems and songs:-

Jesu, Joy of man's desiring - Bach

Air from Suite no 3 in D major - Bach

Requiem aeternam - Gregorian Chant

Lux aeterna - Elgar

Hallelujah - Cohen arr. Jones

Gloria - Vivaldi

Final from Symphonie 1 - Vierne

Hymns:

Praise, My Soul, The King Of heaven

Lord Of All Hopefulness

Jerusalem

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