Ed Waller Tribute
| About 500 people attended the Requiem Mass. Those present
included Mr. Donald Tsang GBM, JP & Mrs.Tsang, The Chief Secretary for Administration
of the Hong Kong SAR, Sir James Hodge KCMG, The British Consul General and
many other distinguished people. The service was fantastic and the two Choirs
were quite wonderful. We had the entire Welsh Male Voice Choir plus Adrian
and his friends. The latter’s performance of Faure was quite stunning. Ben
and the others were absolutely fantastic and the result was an elegant and
deeply meaningful service.
We have raised HK$30,000 for Hong Kong Football Club ‘Bali Victims Fund”.
The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong has already raised HK$30,000
through its Young Executives and others are raising money as well.
Eulogy by Christopher HammerbeckThe Bali atrocity has reverberated throughout the world and all the way throughout the business communities of Asia Pacific and of course Australia. The curious thing being that the rugby community is small and everyone in it knows someone who was either wounded or killed. None more so than a quite remarkable young man known as ‘Ed Waller’ who was only twenty six when he died. Edward de Warrenne Waller to give him his full and correct name, the name formally bestowed on him by the late Cardinal Basil Hume when he baptized him in Westminster Cathedral on October 31st 1976. Ed, a young man so full of life, as illustrated so well in the tributes that flowed throughout the two hour ceremony of his Requiem at Carrig Church, Lough Derg in County Tipperary or in the web site www.edwaller.com which is now over 60 pages in length or here in Hong Kong tonight with this congregation in this fine old Cathedral in a place that he had grown to love. The success of the web site is a testament to the fact that main means that he spoke to his friends was through the internet so it is a fitting ‘headstone’ that he should have a web site of such length and he was never lost for a word or a thousand!
In a sense the modern Hong Kong created as it was by merchant Adventurers captures the inner spirit of this wonderful young man; who was ‘can do’ from the tip of his nose to the tip of his toes. I want in the few minutes that I can control my composure to just talk about the Edward that I knew and loved, it is not possible for me to recreate what Jocelyn his father said of his own son or to attempt to match Philip Bowring’s towering prose. All that I want to talk about is the Ed that I knew so well; not Ed the boy but the aspiring young man as he developed into the wonderful character that we saw blossom in his all to short time in Hong Kong.
Three years ago the phone rang one evening and there was this voice at the other end of the phone saying that it had heard from my daughter Lucy that I needed cheering up and in any case he was in need of some free Golf lessons so why not come to Chiang Mai for the Chinese New Year. I arrived to find a young man in T shirt, shorts and very old and very scruffy ‘docksiders’ driving the most amazingly untidy car with a slightly sheepish grin on his face saying “Um would you mind if we didn’t go home immediately, I need to call in some where”. In a sense this sums up the Ed character because he would always giggle and say “um” with a slight grin when he was onto something that he wanted to do or if something wrong was pointed out “Ooh er”. Anyhow it turned out that it was to the ‘Brains Trust in the Irish Pub that he wanted to go, the high point of his week. After a wonderful weekend with all sorts of different golfing partners; he had the ability to attract from all levels, all ages and in all ethnic groupings, I persuaded him to come and stay with me to make up his mind about his future life. The rest is history and he not only decided to stay in Hong Kong for what many would say were the wrong reasons i.e. the fact that he could at a pinch play 3 and if he was really canny 4 sports in a weekend and even more so because it was close to Australia, close to Thailand, and anywhere else that people were throwing, kicking hitting balls; in short he was in his element. In fact Hong Kong was the perfect place for someone like Ed, there were lots of fellow spirits, and he loved its informality and its innate friendliness for young men and women.
He would usually ask me out for a drink and or a meal and I quickly got to know what was coming because it was an enquiry, after a long and involved explanation of what I thought that his boss would say if he was asked if he, Edward that is, could leave just a touch early to get some major sporting event somewhere in the world and the question would be put with that delightful sheepish look on his face with the faint lop sided grin that was almost his hallmark.
But he changed his job and all of a sudden a new Ed started to emerge, it became difficult to get him for a game of golf or one had to say that there would be opportunities for business. Instead of talking about how many goals, tries or runs he had scored it would be the fact that he was getting more contracts than others and clearly he was enjoying all aspects of his life. He was now the Captain of a Rugby team, not that this seemed to slow down his will, the last game of golf that we played was notable for the fact that he looked as though he had run into a tree as he had so many stitches in his face and we marveled at the sight of him drinking; he was the first person that I have ever seen drink three pints through a straw.
I tell these tales because they represent the quintessential ‘Ed’ and yet this is only half the story. A young man who just saw straight through age, as I have said before he made old men feel part of his gang when they had given up any hope of belonging to any gang. He could go away for the weekend and then buy a fish for Kirsty, his flat mate just to keep her from becoming lonely. He could hide under the bed with my Cat to avoid the Maid who wanted to shampoo and condition both of them. He could keep an eye on the young and give them a nudge when they needed it.
It is this generosity of spirit, this love of his fellow men and women, his innate decency and profound sensitivity for others that marks him out as a truly remarkable young man; those of us who have been able to experience that great warmth should as I now do rejoice that he was here and focus on what he gave us in an all too short life. Perhaps it is appropriate that we are reflecting on the death of such a young man in a place that is devoted to the worship of someone who was also cut off in his prime, as a young man. Edward’s example will live on of that I am absolutely certain for he was an example to his peers and loved for his ineffable quality of getting things moving along and having fun and doing no harm to anyone or thing.
In a place where family values are so important he also measures up completely; his love and support for his mother, Nellawan, his support, admiration and love of his father and of course for his Brother Tom stands out as a lighthouse in a time of stormy weather for family values. There was softness; a gentle caring side within his character that I believe came not only from his Thai ethnic origins and also from the Irish side of his makeup as well. So it is that we all share with his grieving parents our sadness and our belief in the true value of his short life. We need to understand and draw comfort in that he died doing what he enjoyed most and was in the thick of things. As his father said “if the Sari Bar on Kuta Beach was the place to be in Bali on the night that he died then you could be sure that he would be there” living up to his favourite motto that hung on his office wall by Pete Goss the solo yachtsman:
“Life hangs on a very thin thread and the cancer of time is complacency. If you are going to do something, do it now. Tomorrow is too late"