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Date: 07/04/06

A Fond Farewell...

(Don't panic! It's not yet another obituary: goodness knows I've had to write enough of those lately, as regular readers of the Not A Blog page will know)

Today was an historic occasion for the denizens of that palace of lost hopes known as HM Revenue & Customs, Wrexham.

Today saw the retirement of Terence ('Tex') Burke, after more years of service than you could shake a stick at.

Picture of Tex Burke and Gill King

That retiring creature Texus Majoris Mancuniosa in his accustomed habitat. Here accompanied by his glamorous assistant Gill.

It was a time for gifts, for smiles and hugs:

Picture of Tex Burke with Cath Hughes (neé Burke) and Anne Jones

At noon, it was off to the Holt Lodge Hotel for those of us going on the coach. As part of their cunning plan, Anne and Cath (seen above with Our Hero), made sure that Tex was the last to arrive.

Tex had wanted a quiet end to his career, and for some reason had been under the impression that there would be no more than a dozen or so people there. You can perhaps imagine his astonishment when he walked in to the room to be greeted by about 70 of his colleagues past and present. Had he suspected, I doubt if we'd have got him near the place.

The former Area Corporate Services director, Trevor Phillips, made a short presentation (without PowerPoint™):

Picture of Trevor Phillips' presentation to Tex Burke

Tex, visibly moved, then got up to make a short speech of thanks:

Picture of Tex Burke making a speech

We then got down to some serious conviviality:

Picture of the Function Room at The Holt Lodge Hotel

It was also a family affair in a special sense, as it has been a source of amusement down the years how many members of his own family Tex has got on to the Department's payroll. Here are the members of the Wrexham chapter:

Picture of Tex Burke and his family

Tex Burke (centre), with sons Patrick, Terence (Tez) and Damian, and daughter Cath (Hughes).

It wasn't just those who were there who showed their appreciation. You can judge what Tex has meant to our office by the number of messages written on this card:

Picture of Tex Burke's card

As the afternoon wound down, and we prepared to head back into town (many with their minds set on some serious boozing), it was time to wish Tex what we would all wish for him:

Picture of a'Happy Retirement' banner on a wall

For myself, I can only say this: Tex Burke was my first manager when I came into the old Inland Revenge in 1991. I think it took a few months for his eyebrows to come back down again. He encouraged me through my first year, which was at times a little fraught.

Loyal. Conscientious. Funny. Knowledgeable. These are just four of the words which could be found in the large dictionary he kept on his desk. Fortunately, all those words apply in full to the man himself, and it will seem very strange indeed not to hear the jangling of keys along the corridor as he comes in to work of a morning.

So Tex, take the very best care of yourself, yer old bugger, because you deserve a long, content and active retirement.
By the way, are you available to lock up on Monday night? Smiley bouncing up and down with its tongue out