Earlier this week we found ourselves saying goodbye to our friend and Spacer Andrew Grounsell far too early. He was just 54 years of age. Andrew sadly passed away on 20th October 2016 after an incredible fight with bowel cancer.
He was diagnosed just over two years ago and we were all in complete awe of how he coped with the situation not only physically but more important mentally. He managed to get himself through two years of chemotherapy while simply carrying on as if he was perfectly fit. At the start of his illness, he asked to be treated completely normal with absolutely no allowances made. This is something we managed to achieve together. He would have his treatment every other week, over a two-day cycle but was often back in the office on the second day with his self-administer pack.
During his illness, he managed to complete the Key building at Science Central - which is just one of his legacy buildings - and he was still working until very recently, completing a bid and coming into the office to check over things. He Skyped into a design review only a couple of weeks ago. Even when he was told that he had just weeks left, he offered to meet one final time to talk through his projects.
Andrew leaves behind a fantastic portfolio of work from a career that spans thirty years – much of this will be covered in a separate blog post shortly - however his greatest legacy is his family. He loved his career and he loved work, however, he managed to ensure that he could invest extensive time into his family. His wife Jo, daughter Amy and son Henry are a total credit to him. Their strength over the last few days has been nothing short of inspirational – in particular, at the funeral and how they ensured special memories of Andrew were shared with all.
We can all learn a lot from Andrew’s life. He really had no interest in material things. He spent his time with the people he loved and took the time to enjoy life around him. Andrew was an incredibly successful person. Sure, he didn't have the accepted measures of access - no Bentley, Rolex watch or tens of thousands of pounds in the bank – what he had was more important. Special friendships and the happiest of memories. I honestly cannot recall anyone having a bad word to say about Andrew, that is apart from his persistent lateness which seemed to be a constant theme throughout all the stories across his life!
The final measure of your true success has to be the amount of love at your funeral and the number of people that turn up to say their goodbyes and pay their respects. The chapel this week was as full as I have ever seen for anyone. There was standing room only with people in the aisles and squeezed into every corner.
Andrew was the most successful person I have the ever known and an inspiration and lesson to us all.
Rest in peace Andrew.