Amber because Tanya’s beauty sparkled at the surface and coursed to the core of her being.
Amber because her beauty touched people she touched.
Amber because of her warmth and her strength, her clarity and her complexities.
To deny Tanya her complexities would be like serving Stilton without the blue bits.
Until I met Tanya, I used to think the best thing to do with my own imperfections was to keep them hidden – Tanya taught me to be proud of them and to use them for growth.
There were many other things that Tanya taught me too.
I used to think that things were about as good as they could be – until I met Tanya. She taught me always to strive for more, to get the very best out of any situation.
I used to think that being a boss was easy – until I met Tanya. She taught me that that if you take the time and find the courage to really get to know someone, you can inspire and be inspired at the same time.
I used to think that swearing in the office was unacceptable – until I met Tanya and when I confronted Tanya with this one day, without missing a beat, she told me to stop being so ridiculous and (here I paraphrase slightly) she couldn't help it anyway because of the effing Tourrettes!
I used to think that feelings should be kept under wraps, until I met Tanya – she gave me the gift of expression.
My wife Sarah and my children Michael and Anna are very sorry they can’t be here today. All of us have been touched by Tanya’s magic.
Sarah’s most powerful memory of Tanya was at the tree abseil at Brook Farm. Having inched her way, rung by rung, petrified to the platform at the top, Sarah was quaking and ready for any suggestion or help that would have got her out of there as quickly as possible. Instead, what she got was a Tanya ‘special’ – an uninterrupted flow of one-way conversation on topics that ranged from the mundane to the mind-numbing: the colour of paint, the price of dog food and the relative benefits of oil and gas-fired central heating. After several minutes and unable to take any more, Sarah said, “I think I'm ready to go now”, took hold of the abseil rope and started her descent, feeling in complete control.
It was only several weeks later that Sarah realised the extent of Tanya’s cunning and wit in getting her to make that decision for herself.
Michael and Anna both loved Tanya, whom they met through the 818 Club and, of course, at countless BBQ’s.
As for me, my memories of Tanya are countless. Tanya as a trainee back in 1997, claiming she would never be able to stand in front of a group and talk! Tanya striding across Crib Goch in North Wales. Tanya on camp, lighting fires, playing games, raising spirits, constantly caring for and encouraging others and challenging herself. Tanya in the office, asking all the awkward questions, turning over all the stones, setting the highest standards.
And most recently at my AU leaving do when it was Tanya, in full Panda suit, who jumped me on the street to pull me into my surprise party. I had no idea anything was about to happen that evening but I knew instantly that it was Tanya in the suit - who else could it be. Bizarrely, she put on this squeaky voice in an attempt to disguise herself – as if there was anyone else in the world that it possibly could have been!
There are many things that I’m not very good at and one of them is picking up signals about other people’s relationships. Even I, however, could not miss the passion and devotion that Tanya held for Kim. I hope Kim will forgive me if I read out a few words that Sarah and I sent to Kim last week:
To love and be loved is to feel the sun on both sides. Tanya and Kim made the toastiest couple we know.
My heart, my sorrow and my sympathy go out to Kim and Diana and all of Tanya’s family. There is also joy in my heart at the privilege of having known Tanya, if only so briefly.
For me, Tanya was way, way more than a friend –she was, and is, a way of life. I will be doing my very best to live the rest of my life in a way that Tanya would respect and approve of.
I am thankful beyond words for the time I had with Tanya. I will always be the richer for it. She will never be replaced. She will never be forgotten.
Tanya, my amber queen, I salute you.