It was with great sadness that we learnt of Simon's sudden illness and very shortly after his passing at the end of August. His funeral was held at Bournemouth Crematorium on the 13th September 2021. A significant number of Club members attended to say farewell. An Eulogy written by his wife was read by Mark Petraskas. This was followed by tributes to our late Membership Secretary written by members and read by Phil Ford.
Many of you will know Simon by sight and will agree what a charming guy he was with so much passion for our hobby with bigger and greater plans for the future yet so cruelly cut short by Cancer unknown to him and his surviving wife Susan. The Eulogy read by Mark made very interesting listening as we heard of his earlier life, the love of motor racing along with photos of him mingling with the famous and Royalty - a bit of a dark horse!
Eulogy by Susan Osborne
Simon was brought up in a village pub in Kent, which his parents managed, along with his brother, Ian. This sparked his interest in hospitality and catering which lead him to obtain a Cookery and Catering Management Diploma from Thanet College. Straight from College, he took up a position as Footman to Her Majesty the Queen based at Buckingham Palace and he travelled across the UK working at all the Royal Residences. This invaluable experience proved to be the opening to many interesting positions over the years. Simon was hardworking and diligent. He learned his trade in Hotel Management within the De Vere Group at the Grand Hotel and Cavendish Hotel in Eastbourne and also at Claridges in Paris. Following this he transferred to be a Deputy Manager at the Linton Lodge Hotel in Oxford.
Susan says we met in Oxford in 1978 on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend who I shared a flat with and with whom Simon also worked. We married later that same year and we have just celebrated 43 years of marriage.
During the 80s and 90s, Simon worked at many different four star Hotels as a General Manager all over the country. In 1991 he was headhunted to be the General Manager at the David Lloyd tennis centre in Heston, where he stayed for a couple of years. This was an amazing experience for him, as he met many well-known and interesting people, including Sir Cliff Richard.
Then In 1996, the position of General Manager of the Carlton Hotel in Bournemouth came up, so we moved to Bournemouth and have remained here ever since. After a couple of years, an opportunity arose to run and look after the 18 Timeshare Apartments adjacent to the Carlton and this was something he really enjoyed, even having to work every Saturday as this was the busiest day of the week.
Simon (on the right) as footman to Her Majesty the Queen
In 2013 he suffered a heart attack but continued working for two more years, before he finally retired in 2015. His recovery from the heart attack was greatly helped by the membership and support of the Bournemouth Heart Club, which we both attended at 7.00 am each Monday and Thursday morning, unless we were on holiday. He made many great friends at the Heart Club and enjoyed regular breakfast meetings with them at a local garden centre.
On his retirement he decided to join the Wimborne Model Aero Club and this proved to be an absorbing way to spend his days. He spent hours building, modifying and assembling planes and loved the days he was able to fly his planes, weather permitting. He was also the Membership Secretary of the Club and enjoyed the many social events that took place.
We enjoyed many holidays together in Spain, Cornwall and Eastbourne and we both loved cruising and visited many places, including Libya, the Amazon, the Black Sea, Iceland, the Suez Canal, Fjords and the Mediterranean. I even persuaded him to visit Nashville and Memphis and Graceland the home of Elvis Presley and we stayed at Heartbreak Hotel for two nights, which was memorable to say the least.
Simon was very fond and supportive of my sister, Claire and her 2 children. He had an active role in teaching Edward and Emma how to drive. He was so patient and clear – they both passed first time, which he was so proud of. They appreciated the time that he took to teach them basic car maintenance and he had an eye for finding them the ideal car at the right price.
Simon was an excellent cook and produced the most amazing dishes from curries to paella and Sunday roasts. Christmas dinner was the highlight of our year. Emma was often his sous chef and he passed down many of his skills to her.
He was a car enthusiast and was fond of Formula One motor racing and we have visited many Grand Prix races both in the UK and abroad over the years. He loved personalising his cars. Car dealers often described them as a ‘Christmas tree on wheels!’ His latest pride and joy was a bright blue VW Transporter which was modified for first class transportation of his model planes to the air field.
Our last family get together was at the end of June at our nephew’s wedding and we all have fond memories of Edward’s and Annie’s special day.
Simon has always enjoyed music by The Beatles and often talked about the live Beatles concert he went to when he was young with his mum. We have chosen 3 of his favourite songs to be played today.
Many of the cards that I have received over the past couple of weeks have said how kind and supportive Simon was. He was described as “one of life’s true gentlemen” and many considered it a privilege to have known him. Simon was so dependable, caring and my rock. We had a wonderful 43 years of marriage, and I shall miss him so much.
A Tribute by Wimborne Model Aero Club
Simon joined us in 2016 and instantly became a great asset to the club, the last few years taking on the role membership secretary. He also made great efforts to encourage the younger generation to take up the hobby, even supplying his own training equipment. For me personally we got on exceptionally well from the start and willingly offered his time to assist on my Scale Day events and Memorial Days. After joining the Committee we were always in regular contact to keep the club running smoothly in the background. He was always there willing to help - that was Simon.
Simon's 1st Forum Post (30th August 2016)
Hi, after a 35 year lay-off and having recently retired, I would really like to fly RC planes properly! I would welcome any help from authorised members that can give me to tuition to learn to fly. Other than Monday and Friday mornings I can get to Cashmoor just about any time. I am about to purchase and put together a Wot 4 with electric motor and intend using a Futaba 8 channel radio. This is quite different to my previous hobby which was speed hill climbing and sprinting racing cars! So if you can help me out with tuition I would be very grateful!
AND WE DID!
Simon was a relatively new member of the Club, but no one was more enthusiastic. He threw himself into his new hobby with gusto, and was ever keen to help the Club remain successful. This led him to becoming a Committee member, where he was clearly very well regarded . He was ever friendly to everyone he met at the Club, present at the flying field more than most to the extent that his absence will be sorely felt by the regulars there.
Simon, what a lovely guy. Always working to help and encourage new members, happy to provide his own models and equipment for the instructors to give experience flights to prospective new members or training flights to new members. Doing the job of membership secretary to the very best of his ability, always supporting club events, whether working hard all day manning the stand at Ferndown Fete or coming up to support club members at the IMAC comps. I also think about his enthusiasm for the hobby, really throwing himself into improving and his ambitions for moving up to bigger and better things. Cashmoor won't be the same without Simon
This has been repeated by many of his friends over the years he has been a member of our club, one member stating..........."What a bloody nice Bloke Simon is!".
What an asset to the club you were. Your enthusiasm for the hobby and ability to convey the true ethos of the club to existing and prospective members young and old is truly brilliant.
A great sense of humour, and a man with a fund of interesting stories. He helped me to get my enthusiasm back by introducing me to a crazy biplane that hadn't been flown for ten years, encouraging me to repair a battered Flair SE5A Thank you.
When Simon joined WMAC it was to fulfil a long term passion but to my mind he stands out as a senior member who having gained a “to fly solo white card”, he used his passion to give something back to the club. He’s always been very involved in all aspects of club activities. Always offering help and advice and promoting the helping of new members to get in the air on a white card as soon as possible. Several ideas for the benefit of all members of the club were put forward by Simon at committee meetings which I’m sure will be done and would have been completed had they not been delayed by the pandemic. It’s been a great pleasure to know you.
One bright & sunny day Simon was flying a "Wind 50" aerobatic model & another member joined him flying a 10 year old vintage style model. They happily flew around for a while then "bang" - "Mid-Air Collision" - the vintage model fluttered to the ground in pieces while Simon's model flew on with just a bent undercarriage. Such was Simon's generosity that he searched for & found a replacement model, a great gesture but not required since it was a 50/50 situation.
And finally, "I am really sorry I or we had a mid-air INCIDENT with your Wot 4 in flight" said Phil Ford.
At least Simon did fulfill one passion from his list and that was to build and fly a Spitfire although he only had one flight on the sticks. Video of his Sptifire maiden can be found here. https://wimbornemac.org/video/271-spitfire-mk-ix