I had the terrible, terrible news today that you are gone, to cancer. To cancer! The irony, for the person who helped to build modern fundraising in what is now Cancer Research UK.
For me and many, many fundraisers you were the aspirational model – if only I could be like Tony. Continually, defiantly innovative in word, thought and deed. So fearless of consequence as you pushed yourself to new frontiers in fundraising. So hard working – I have wondered at times whether you slept – and so funny. Your capacity to mimic, to crack me up into gales of laughter just when I was getting serious, was unequalled.
I would write “RIP”. But resting in peace is the last thing you would do. Rushing Into a Performance is more like the Tony that I shall always remember, as the star turn in the two closing plenaries that I produced for the International Fundraising Congress. To be historically accurate, you were the creative mind, the stage master, the script writer, the personal coach and the director of the plenaries, whilst I hung out at the back with the technicians and made occasional mumbled suggestions.
You were continually brilliant on stage because you worked so hard to prepare beforehand. And that for me was the lesson you left; prepare, prepare more, and then go for a prize twice, ten times, a hundred times your original target.
In Catalan people say of the dead that they have ‘gone to the other neighbourhood’, which seems a good way to think of you. Just around the corner, or possibly watching just over the shoulders of all of us fundraisers as we try to solve a knotty problem; you are whispering the solution in our ear.
We, all of us, will miss your colour, your company and your creativity. Yours is an act we cannot hope to follow.