May 30, 2011
A speech delivered by Stanley Crossick’s daughter, Elizabeth, on the occasion of his memorial.
This occasion really started as an afterthought. A response to those in Brussels and beyond who wanted to mark the sad event of my father passing. Not really for me, for the family at all. After all, we sat through the funeral, and the period of mourning and it was time to move on wasn’t it?
But as the emails swelled my in-box, the notes of fondness, of memories, of laughter came flooding in, I realised that doing this has allowed me to come closer to the real spirit of my father. This was his world. He lived for his ideals, he was passionate in his beliefs and they shaped everything he did.
I had no idea how many people would come to celebrate with us his life and achievements. We didn’t publicise it much, word of mouth probably brought most of you here. But you came, and from all the different parts of Stanleys life. Those who knew him for most of his adult life – Androulla, you and George were friends since the 60s – and those who met him through his blog relatively recently. And you came because he had an impact on your lives. He was not a man you could easily forget.
Everyone of you in this room played a role in Stanley’s life and anyone of you could surely stand here and share your memories. as his daughter I am truly grateful that you have taken the time, some of you travelled from faraway to join us. It was an impossible task to ask just a few of you to speak. But much as we all loved or admired Stanley, we don’t want to spend the night here, so I had to make a choice.
Those speaking were close to my father at key times in his life, and they will build for us a portrait of the complex, multifaceted man that he was.
They represent different aspects of his work and yet, not surprisingly, they are all linked in one way or another, which says a lot about who he was. All had a professional as well as personal relationship with him, and more than that, knew Stanley the person. Like all of us, flawed. How many of us ex Belmontees remember quaking in our shoes when we had made a mistake. The draft paper returned full of red pen, or the roar that came up “you’ve forgotten the full stop”. The decisions we took only to be told ” don’t you know, assumption is the mother of all screw-ups”. but how many of you exBelmontees still draft in one and a half spacing? How many of you pick up the tiniest typo in any draft . And how many of you in this room remember how good he was when you really had a problem. You wouldn’t get hugs and comfort but you’d get ideas and actions. He’d make a few calls, talk it through and help you see things differently.
He was always ahead of his time, starting as a pro-European Brit in 1967, moving to Brussels to work on European integration in 1976, dedicating his latter years to China-EU relations and building a blogging world in his 70s.
I hope you will enjoy this evening, maybe learn something new about my father – I know I already have and above all celebrate the life of a truly remarkable man.
So let’s start our journey with sunny, beautiful Cyprus where my father landed as a 26 year old lawyer in 1963. And had the luck to meet a young economist, George Vassiliou who later married a beautiful lawyer – Androulla Vassiliou
Our next stop is to Scotland and David Edward. David I know you will talk about my father’s work with the CCBE. But I have to say that all I remember is that every vacation was determined by where one or other association was having their annual meeting. Luckily they never chose Middlesborough?..
And so we arrive in Brussels proper, where John, Laurens Jan and Fraser will give us their very different recollections, after which Fraser will introduce the Chinese Amb.
And so last but not least, my dearest Laurentien. You were so special to my father, almost a second daughter. He was so proud of you, and how amazing is it that you were probably the last person to have a real conversation with him, just days before he died.Author : Blogactiv Team