I am very proud to have been a close friend of Terry for over 65 years. He was a wonderful person and helped so many people throughout his 79 years of life. He was an honest and sincere man with great integrity, always calling ‘a spade a spade’ but in a diplomatic way so that no one ever took offence and respected him all the more for it.
Terry has two children from his first marriage and four grandchildren, all of whom adore him. Later in life he met Graham and they have been together for 41 years. Graham, like Terry, is also a ‘giving’ person and many people have received love and support from them during difficult times, myself included. The result is that they have numerous friends for whom the loss of Terry will create a huge void in their lives.
Terry had a wonderful tenor singing voice and sang in school G and S productions and we also both attended a Methodist Youth Club in Guildford where we performed in pantos at Christmas and other shows throughout the year. Terry’s sense of timing and presentation was excellent and it was a great shame that after our Youth club days were over, to my knowledge, he never sang solo again, except around the dinner table when he, usually with me joining in, burst into an impromptu rendition of songs from the Gondoliers. It was only a couple of years ago when we last ‘performed’ for the family after dinner at my son’s home and Terry’s voice was still strong and true and a joy to listen to.
Terry’s singing wasn’t his only talent and the giant model airplanes he constructed and which often filled the garage were works of art which wasn’t surprising because he worked at British Aerospace in the airplane industry, where he was successful and a popular with all his colleagues. He also made furniture perfectly with real craftsmanship and was a credit to Mr Bettison, his woodwork teacher at school. Cabinets, tables, bunk beds for children and many more items of furniture, all made with real wood from scratch not bought from Ikea and assembled. There is a bannister on the stairs in their home which I can never resist stroking because it is as smooth as glass, almost sensuous and absolutely perfect to touch due to the fact that Terry always strove for perfection, in everything he did.
Photography was another of Terry’s hobbies and the photographs he took were beautiful, always with a hidden depth that most people would be unable to bring out of their subject.
He always loved debating both at school in the Debating Society and throughout life and many a time we were able sit together and air our views, not aways in unison but never with any animosity. He was always well organised and a very good cook, as is Graham, and together they made the perfect partnership and hosts. They cooked wonderful meals together, usually in harmony although just occasionally a ‘get out of my kitchen’ moment would take place. It has always been a real treat to be fed, and cosseted, by them.
Terry Collins, pupil of Godalming Grammar School, life partner of one, father of two, grandfather of four, and sincere friend to so many people will be sadly missed by us all but he will never, ever be forgotten by any of us.
Joan Palmer (nee Charleson)