Peter has written a moving tribute to John Bull, our friend who died on Saturday 8th July 2017, aged just 47. I reproduce it here as a guest post.
“I can’t adequately express how saddened I am by John’s death. He was one of my oldest friends and over the years certainly my best. With the exception of a few months when I moved to Cheltenham and when he moved back to Suffolk I saw him almost every week. It’s difficult to comprehend that I won’t see him again.
Although he often portrayed a veneer of combativeness in the way he spoke I always thought he was a decent, quiet and clever man who sometimes hid those attributes from others. I hardly ever saw him angry and I’ve never knew him to do anything deliberately hurtful to anybody.
I knew John best through roleplaying and wargaming, together we travelled in our imaginations through stories sweeping from the depths of space to the grimy alleys of Victorian London and beyond. John always added something to the games, bringing encyclopaedic knowledge of certain parts of history and a sharp, clever mind that was often more than a match for any puzzle or plot I might devise. I know roleplaying is difficult to understand if you haven’t participated but I still remember sessions that John and I were involved with going back over the decades, including one memorable instance in his shop when we only realised how long we’d been playing when the rising sun started shafting in through the windows. I will also remember the sight of John in his full Lorien Trust gear, clad in his leather armour, sheltered behind a huge shield, an altogether imposing sight.
As well as roleplaying we shared many other interests, John was a military historian like me and we often had conversations about obscure bits of military history that left others mystified. I realised how much I would miss him while back in Bury last week …. I looked up and saw the unusual sight of an Osprey Tilt Rotor and wanted to share it with someone but I realised that John was the only one who would have understood and I’d never be able to talk to him about it now.
I don’t feel these few words do justice to this good man, I miss him now and I’m sure as the years go on I will feel his absence more and more.
I’m so sorry I couldn’t be at the funeral. I’m sure my friend was give a send off that was worthy of him. My thoughts and condolences are with all of you.