I was fortunate enough to have Simon (“Speck”) as my personal tutor throughout my time at university. His remarkable knowledge & instant solutions both aided & amazed me.
He would genuinely engage me, not just academically, but personally too. His tendency to, as he put it, “over- compensate” for his perceived flaws was something we joked about & connected over. His dark & dry sense of humour also resonated with me & a lot of my peers.
It would be far too arrogant of me to say that I saw myself in Simon – I can only dream of possessing his intellect. But I will say that there were character traits of his that I certainly related to; I like to think he was aware of this. I’m not sure, however, if he knew how much that relatability sustained me during periods of self-doubt & insecurity.
Our class’ trip to Berlin will always evoke fun memories, with Simon playing a major role within them. His easy-going, chilled & authentic vibe shone even more out of the lecture room & it was apparent that students wanted to be around him &, perhaps unconsciously, craved his attention. (He could also drink most of us under the table yet still maintain an articulate & intellectual conversation – it was pretty admirable).
The standout memory for me, was during the third & final year. When I felt like I was about to fall at the last hurdle, & that everything I was submitting was dire, I unexpectedly received an email from Simon. It was a response to his “Humour & Society” module essay submission. He’d gone out his way to message me personally to express how much he had loved my work & had even thanked me for giving him such an enjoyable read. I still remember the feeling his message gave me – it was almost euphoric.
His acknowledgement would bring joy.
His feedback and grade secured me a first-class degree & for that I will always be grateful.
I count myself very lucky that I was one of his students.
He will always be missed…& respected.