dimanche 11 mars 2018

Colin Goodey, farewell my friend

Colin Goodey having fun as usual
At the end of the 70's I ended up working in a small factory in Mochdre (near Colwyn Bay in North Wales). It was a really dull couple of years as my job was very boring and I hated every minute of it. There was an older man there, who seemed to be happy in his own world, as he went about the place maintaining the machines. We sort of attracted each other and we discovered that we were both climbers. I learnt that he had really been involved in the development of the Moelwyn crags and his favourite cliff was Lliwedd. His name was Bill Trench and he had so many great tales to tell. Many of his tales involved his protege, one Colin Goodey. Obviously I'd heard about Col, as I was active on the limestone crags in the area, where he'd put up loads of new routes, but I'd never met him myself.

Eventually, Bill took me over to Llanfairfechan, after work one evening, to meet Col and his wife Sue, at their outdoor centre "The Towers" where they lived with their three young daughters, Katherine, Delyth and Sara (the Goodey Girls). Colin and Sue were very charming hosts and it turned out to be quite a late evening, with plenty of banter, lots of laughter and a fair amount of whiskey consumed. Understandably, Bill and I went back several times and I was hooked on their mischievous sense of fun and adventure. In 1980, I left the area to settle into my new life of adventure with Elaine and didn't see them for many years.

The years passed by, the Goodey girls grew up and Col and Sue eventually sold "The Towers". Col and Sue became full time climbers, travellers and adventurers. We heard all about their exploits whenever we bumped into any of the Goodey Girls. At the time, Kath was pushing female trad standards in North Wales, Del was pushing female sport standards in the Peak and Sar was really into mountain biking and ended up living in St Helens, whilst doing her training in Liverpool. What I always found remarkable, about these amazing young ladies, was that they had all clearly benefited from the outdoor lifestyle and sense of fun that their parents had introduced them to at a very young age.

Over the years we have kept in touch with Col and Sue. A few years ago now, we were able to put them in touch with a colleague of ours, who needed someone to look after her house down here on the Cote d'Azur during the summer. That was too good a chance for them to miss. Col and Sue looked very much at home, sipping wine beside the pool, when we went across to see them and it was great to listen to their latest adventures (and to hear some of the old tales again!).

We were so lucky to see Col and Sue when we were back in Wales last summer. Col had been poorly for a while but he hadn't lost his great sense of humour and ability to tell a wonderful tale. We were once again captivated listeners. We had a lovely meal together in an Italian restaurant and drank some nice smooth brandy into the early hours back at their place. We left with heavy hearts, both of us silently hoping that we'd see Col again next summer. Sadly, that isn't to be as Col eventually succumbed to his illness and passed away last Monday, 5th March. He will be very sadly missed by so many because he touched so many lives.

I am sure that Col's spirit is up to the usual mischief and having fun in Snowdonia and around his beloved Ormes. We will return next summer to do some of his climbs. Farewell my friend.

My thoughts and deepest sympathy are with Sue and the Goodey Girls.

There are some great tributes to Colin on UKClimbing: www.ukclimbing.com/news/2016/12/colin's_first_climb_-_do_what_you_can_now-70860

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