tributes for colin

If you would like to add your own tribute, thoughts or photos please click here to contact David, Colin’s brother.

Colin being encouraged to paint by Ross Munro. These are the last photos ever taken of Colin, about 6-8 weeks before he died

Tribute from Ross Munro: In the relatively short time that I knew Colin he always struck me as the epitome of that old fashioned word, a Gentleman, he was gentle, humorous, intelligent, philosophical and insightful. It was a privilege to have spent time in his company and in some small way to have been there when he needed a little help to cope with his difficulties. Colin was a fine man and if more people had his talents and attributes this world would be a better place.   Ross Munro, Headway Norfolk & Waveney


Colin near Salhouse in 2010

Tribute from Sue Bayliss: Colin was a loyal and supportive friend to me over many years. He was always generous, showering myself and my son with presents on birthdays and at Christmas, taking such pleasure in choosing suitable gifts. He was also generous with his time, helping with jobs, coming on outings and so on. He was very fond of my son, Christopher, and spent many happy times teaching him how to use a computer and playing with him when he was little. Later on Colin was always a source of technical know how and support with computing tasks or purchases.

He was a highly talented artist and designer, creator of my much admired website and many wonderful leaflets and power points for my business. He was hugely creative and yet, sad to say, never truly believed in his abilities.

Colin loved animals and took care of my cats while I was away with them hardly noticing my absence as they were so well looked after and fussed over.  He formed a firm friendship with the two horses in the adjoining field to his bungalow and they used to come over to him whenever they saw him appear.

His interest in science and space was a source of fascination to him. I remember too his love of nature and the many walks we did around the village and further afield. He was a gentle soul, loyal, kind and always ready with a listening ear when needed. I shall miss him enormously.    Sue Bayliss


Christopher & Amy

Tribute from Christopher Bayliss: Colin was a generous, kind, intelligent and very thoughtful man. He was a good friend to my mother and was to me as well. He was a major influence in my childhood: I first met him as a toddler! He shaped and fostered my lifelong interest in computers and technology. He was very generous with both his time and his money. Not only did give many wonderful gifts at Christmas and on birthdays but he always had a lot of time for me and was always ready to spend many an hour talking through intellectual matters, sometimes in great detail!

As an adolescent and a young man I was fascinated by the depth of his knowledge. We wiled away many afternoons in deep conversation. He was a very intelligent man with a thorough knowledge of science, music and philosophy. He had strong views on the proper application of reason. When I was a sixth former doing philosophy at school I often discussed my homework with Colin. He was invariably extremely helpful and knowledgeable. Not only was he knowledgeable but he was also a talented pianist and graphic designer. I remember being excited as a child listening to Colin playing Bach on mum’s piano.

He was a wonderful friend who had many admirable qualities. I will miss him.    Christopher Bayliss


David & Colin at Bure Vally Railway in 2010

Tribute from David Furmage (brother): What can I say about Colin? My only brother.  My big brother. We used to call each other bruvver with a V, hello bruvver  we’d say…. right up until last month.

When I was 8, at Thetford school, Colin nearly 12, he would tell me stories at break times. Inventing Furmo, an organization that fought crime and helped people. With underground cities, big adventures and fantastical visions of a science fiction future.

Perhaps he was influenced by Thunderbirds – of Tracy island and puppet fame – which was in its heyday then, in 1966. Colin helped me age all my toys. I had a thunderbird 1 and 2, we also built rockets and other craft out of balsa wood. It was a new idea then not have shiny clean plastic craft … but dirty scratched one’s instead. As if they had been in real adventures. We even set fire to them … all in the interests of visual realism of course!

Once we accidently set fire to the garage roof too! Colin always had amazing ideas.  He drew wonderfully detailed pencil sketches in those earlier years. He was an avid reader too, fascinated by science.

He was also a great thinker … far smarter than me! He and I always enjoyed being together. For simply years, every time we met – we would get immersed in detailed technical conversations … about gadgets and loads of other stuff.

He became a computer programmer, enjoying a heyday of activity working for many big companies. He would encourage me to buy early home computers back then … like the Acorn Atom, which enabled us to play a version of Star Trek with white blobs on the screen representing … well … just about everything!

This was long before PC’s were even slightly useful! When the date successfully moved from 1999 to 2000 without the entire world grinding to a halt, Colin knew it was time to give up programming and do something else instead. His heart moved into graphic design, and dabbled in the idea of drawing, painting and photography. He would constantly discuss with me ways to get an art business off the ground.

Dad would often have taken us all to lunch somewhere, perhaps in the waffle house in Norwich – a favourite haunt of Colin’s. It would be a raw deal for dad, though, as Colin and I would have long conversations about business ideas and future dreams. It was very clear by then that Colin had an almost photographic memory. often telling me things about my own life that I had long since forgotten.

And so to today. Well, I feel robbed by not having a bruvver any more. But I do feel happier knowing that he had many friends in his life and many happy periods in his life too. So, that’s it from me. Colin was a great person and I will never forget him.  David Furmage


Father & Son, Bure Valley, 2010

Tribute by John Furmage (dad): Going back to his early days, Colin easily passed for Grammar school in North Walsham and was soon on the prize list. He had a very dry sense of humour even then. For instance, Colin chose as his first prize a book on fossils, because it reminded him of some of his teachers!

His misdemeanours were few, but there were some. For example, with a school friend he electrified a brief case belonging to one of the science staff … so when they opened it they got more than they bargained for!

After Norwich Tech he went to Leeds University to study philosophy. It was on one of my visits to Leeds that I realised he was developing a great love for classical music. He took me to the library there and showed me with enthusiasm the vast section on the composer Liszt.

But his learning of music was very much on his own terms. He wouldn’t really do anything conventionally. He learnt the piano initially by listening to me rather than having lessons. Later on he became a very good pianist, for a time enjoying playing duets with me. Music was a great love in his life … Johann Sebastian Bach an over-whelming favourite. He especially enjoyed Glen Gould’s performances of Bach… one of the best-known and most celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century.

I have had many proud moments thinking about Colin during his life. For example, the university essay he showed me, which was endorsed  ‘Potential One’  by his tutor. Sometimes though, I reflect wistfully on what might have been for Colin … perhaps a writer … who knows. Sadly some of this early promise did not continue.

Colin was always very loyal and appreciative of his friends. He was entirely accepted by scholarly folk. Knowledgeable. Intellectual … and yet so self-effacing. He was a great lover of nature, from space and the most complex scientific subjects to simple things like cats! I miss my son. I miss his Sunday visits.

Colin’s last present to me was Glen Gould’s biography. It is both poignant to me and sad … as it was the last time he ever signed his name. I know a number of you here helped him do it. I have lost a son, a friend and a companion.  John Furmage.


Colin in his lounge...

Tribute from Val Giblet: I first met Colin about 6 years ago when he developed a website for our small, newly formed organisation.

As I got to know Colin it was obvious he had a range of skills and considerable knowledge about a range of things from science, technology, nature, art, music and philosophy.  As is the case for all of us Colin had his own unique interpretation of his life experiences that were interesting, intelligent and imaginative.

What struck me about Colin was his amazingly sensitive and gentle personality that was shrouded in absolute honesty. This was something that created many dilemmas for Colin as he endeavoured to be true to his honesty and in no way hypocritical.  He was a perfect gentleman and was someone for whom the age of chivalry still existed.

Colin’s gentle nature and his love for animals meant the many pets entrusted to his care whilst owners were absent quickly settled and appreciated his attention.  Another major attribute to Colin’s personality was his sense of humour.  This was so right up to the end.  An example of this was during his last few days when I was attempting to operate the all singing and all dancing hospital bed so that Colin could sit up.  As I pressed all the different arrows and every part of the bed moved but the one we wanted a wry smile came over Colin’s face.

I am pleased to have known Colin and privileged to have had so many interesting discussions and insight into his life.  Rest in peace Colin, you will not be forgotten.    Val Giblett


Tribute from Shane: Colin and I were friends at Leeds University and shared a common interest in Philosophy which we both studied. I remember being in awe of his immense intellect, but he never once made me feel wanting. I remember with affection now, the many chess games we played… his thinking time far exceeded mine, I recall…and games used to last many hours until time or tiredness stopped us.

He was certainly not the typical bright student…he simply loved learning, but had a healthy dislike of exams and everything they stood for.

Another thing I will always remember is Colin’s patience and gentleness which made him one of the best listeners I have ever known. He had a huge ability to empathise with others and help them with their problems. He never got impatient or angry, even when he scraped his car once, when trying to drive through the narrow entrance to Francis’ parents’ bungalow.

And yet, despite all his problems over the years, battling to save his business, coping with depression and his valiant struggle against the tumour, I feel Colin never gave up hope and, to the end, maintained a core scientific and philosophical attitude to all that life threw at him.

A few months ago, I saw him for the last time. Ill though he was at the time, it wasn’t long before we were happily chatting again and it was great to see Colin’s delightful smile – he had a fantastic sense of humour, which he never relinquished… He was like I remembered him from University:  unique and unaffected. With Colin, what you saw was what you got. Not a trace of pretention – he was very firmly- Colin.

Francis drove Colin and I to Great Yarmouth and we stopped by old haunts, reminiscing.  We stopped near a beach overlooking the sea, enjoying a vibrant sunset on our return.

I will miss Colin very much and will cherish my memories of the good times we had together.    Shane Hutchinson


Tribute from Maureen: My Friend Colin. Colin was a unique and rather special person . He was a great intellectual and we enjoyed deep discussions on the meaning of life and other philosophical topics. He was knowledgeable and interesting and fun to engage with in the debate. He clearly had read widely on a number of subjects. I was so sad to find that, rather cruelly, his illness had robbed him of his verbal fluency.

He was so willing and helpful whenever I asked for IT support. He was clearly able and skilled in this field and  I appreciated all the help he gave me.

He was also artistic and musical and it was a joy to hear him play Bach on his keyboard of which he was very proud.

Although I knew Colin for a relatively short time , I am very happy and feel privileged to have known him and will always remember his kindness and companionship.   Maureen Tilford


Tribute from Jessica: Colin and I were friends for about 10 years, until about 10 years ago, and then Colin got back in touch in autumn 2009. Living some way apart we saw each other relatively infrequently, but spoke often on the phone. With his beautiful and distinctive voice there was some logic that “mellifluous” was a favourite word of his, and he was prepared to discuss such a wide range of topics, sometimes with surprising candour.
He was interested in and kind to my daughter Bethany, at that time of infants/primary school age, and in some way his gentleness and shyness seemed to make communicating with children – intelligently – easier for him. He gave me a present one Christmas – a wooden box with a secret mechanism to open, containing a gold box of frankincense & myrrh. It remains a favourite with visiting children. Unable to believe in God himself he had a respect for others’ faith and somehow seemed to wish that he could believe.

His musical interest and knowledge was impressive, although he had clear ideas about what was worth listening to. He introduced me to Schumann, and the piano concerto in A minor is a “desert island disc” because of him. I responded by suggesting he listened to Dire Straits – he bought the CD and then politely but firmly presented it to me (I already had it)!

He was so proud of his brother, and also his friend Sue. He took pleasure in other’s successes. He liked that I was then a health visitor, talking of the days when his mother took him with her on visits – leaving him under a tree by a river/stream to read a book. I like the fact that a photo on the website shows a picture as I imagined that scene and what looks like a happy time for him.      Jessica Linskill


Francis & Colin arm wrestling as students at Leeds University!

Tribute from Francis: Colin and I first knew each other at Leeds University where he was studying Philosophy. My father had suggested getting in contact which I did as both our fathers were musical friends. We shared a house in the second year and took the landlord to a rent tribunal for overcharging us! Colin and I used to creep into the music department to illicitly play on their pianos. Colin was a better pianist than me and always remained so.

One of the last times I saw him well he was playing full volume Bach in his bungalow. I don’t know what the wildlife thought of that!

I used to drive us back from Leeds to Norfolk in the family VW minibus occasionally using my knees to steer (very briefly!), in order to tease Colin. It always worked.

I remember Colin was very careful with his money and kept a little book of outgoings each week-highly responsible but rather unusual for a student.

In more recent years we both attended the 400th Anniversary of Paston Grammar School Open day. We were not very happy there, and neither of us liked Colonel Marshall very much but we enjoyed looking around again at least.

Colin was the last friend of mine to speak to my father before he died in 2004 and at the funeral I remember his father  John  asking me to keep well  in touch, as poor Colin had lost his mother through cancer and then his computing business when he became depressed. We renewed our friendship over the last decade, and Colin became a friend of the family visiting us at Bacton in summer holidays where we had a bungalow. Alison and Eleanor, my wife and daughter regarded him as the gentlest man they knew. Rosie, our Collie, was equally fond too. Colin certainly had a way with animals. He had a gift for listening and thoughtfully asking others about their lives with genuine interest and opened up all sorts of conversations with his questioning attitude to life.

Francis Sanders