Rupert Cox: Magical memories

Rupert Cox, Chief Exec Royal Bath and West of England Society (c) Jeremy Long / JCL PHOTOGRAPHY

Rupert Cox, Chief Exec Royal Bath and West of England Society (c) Jeremy Long / JCL PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

A series of chance meetings take Rupert on a journey into his past

So far 2018 has been a year of reminiscing and winding the clock back with trips down memory lane, blasts from the past and even a close encounter with my first proper girlfriend. This got me thinking that while we rush through our lives we need to recognise those precious moments that will stay with us for a lifetime.

In January I met a delightful young woman from South Devon when we both attended the same networking event. Her features looked vaguely familiar and as we got chatting about where she had come from, it dawned on me that she had connections with Totnes where I had lived and worked some 34 years ago. I made some quip about Totnes Young Farmers and the lack of singing prowess of one particular girl who, rather embarrassing for both us, turned out to be her mother!

Two months later I found myself as the after-dinner speaker for Totnes YFC’s annual dinner and there before me was an array of lovely people who I was sure looked decidedly older than I did, but who in fact were contemporaries of mine. What a magical weekend we had catching up with old friends as if it were yesterday – including my old boss, Russell Dennis, who taught me more than he could imagine. One of our old mates couldn’t make the ‘do’ so asked to meet up for supper a couple of weeks later. How bizarre that you meet someone for the first time in 30 years, but still hit it off without a silent pause in the conversation.

The Rotary Club of Langport & Somerton celebrated its 70th anniversary in the spring where, while patting ourselves on the back for keeping the club going so long, we presented my father, Roger, with an engraved glass, as the longest surviving president on his 89th birthday, having been president back in 1979.

In May we were invited to the wedding of an old school friend of Angie’s. They have known one another for 50 years as firstly their parents were farming friends and secondly they attended Weirfield School, before it was subsumed by Taunton School, and have stayed in touch ever since. Rachel married for the first time at the age of 55 to Rakesh with weddings in Rajasthan and St Audries, near Williton. Old friends and close friends.

Finally, imagine the shock I had when at the Royal Bath & West Show I bumped into my ‘first love’, Jane Samson, who I had not seen since going our separate ways at Christmas 1980, but who attended the show as a guest of our president. Once I had got over the emotional jolt, it was lovely to see her again after all these years and to cheekily ask her to explain to my wife of 35 years, how we knew each other.

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I recall hearing the Olympian athlete, Chris Akabussi speak at an event. He used a phrase that has stuck with me: “Your past is for reference, not residence.” This year the reference points from my past that have come back to nudge me, have helped me to reflect on how fortunate I have been to have met some magical people, all of whom have had a positive effect on how I live my life.

Rupert Cox is the CEO of the Royal Bath and West Society. Follow him on Twitter @rupert_rbw