When I was at Spalding Grammar School, south Lincolnshire, it was a fairly regimented house structure – I was in Gamlyn and there were three other houses (Bentley, Wykeham and Hobson). One of the effects was that you didn’t really know folks in the other houses. Indeed someone with whom I had grown up in our local village and through primary school was in a different house and that effectively separated us at secondary school. However, upon reaching the sixth form the house structure fell away and those of you who stayed on were tumbled back together.

I was no natural sportsman, and was a bit bookish and geeky and so took time to make friends. In time however, my enjoyment of field hockey (spurred by hy dislike of football and rugby) brought me close to a small group of lads whom I had not known well.

 

There was one lad with whom I clicked, he was bigger build and more socially confident than me, or so I thought, but we got on. But no sooner had we met proper in sixth form, got on well, and enjoyed hockey together, and then realised that we got on well, then the sixth form came to an end. That is not the full story of that friendship – there were parties, discos, nights out in Spalding, Pinchbeck, occasionally in Holbeach. But it was an all too passing friendship.

Even then we knew we could and would be good friends, but it required some time together – he was a gentle, sincere and open guy and I was a closed, nervous and more uncertain boy.

There were chats and exchanges that I remember well, but they were passing – one offs.

As soon as I left school and subsequently Spalding and South Lincolnshire, I knew we could be friends, but I moved and the moment slipped. When back in Spalding we often looked out for each other in the pub and occasionally chatted. But that was it.

Some years later, we passed on facebook and I resolved to make contact to take the opportunity in front of me. Three years ago I finally made time to sit down and make that much belated, almost 25 year belated contact. You can imagine my shock therefore to find that I was too late – Jon Seymour, Jonny, had died. The postings on facebook were from his widow. Even now today I struggle with the missed opportunity – this was someone I glimpsed, liked, laughed with and trusted – but I left it too late and now can’t.

Today as I left the theatre in London another post marking 5 years of his death reduced me to tears in the street. I’m not someone who looks back mournfully – but I regret that I never told him what a great guy he was. Hopefully by reading this - his widow – whom I have never met – will see some of the joy he brought me as I grew up and appreciate even more the time she had with him. I enjoyed my early adulthood and end of childhood with him – he was fun and warm hearted – but I missed my chance for a bigger friendship and so I treasure the little bits we shared back then.

Ed Fordham
June 2016