Friday, 18 August 2017

Laurie Brokenshire - In memory

Our good friend Laurie passed away surrounded by his loving family while we were in Paris at IPP37. This morning we went to his funeral.

There were a few puzzlers there… there were a lot of Royal Navy personnel there… there were a number of Sea Cadet folks in uniform… there were a lot of folk from the fostering community (and young people the Brokenshires had  fostered) there… there were a lot of Magic folks and plenty of Church folks… 

We got there early and managed to get seats – a lot of people who also got there well before the service was due to start didn’t get seats… there were a lot of us there to say goodbye to our friend, colleague, father figure.

Gill & I only met Laurie about 5 years ago, but it seemed like we’d known him and Ethel for ages – he was that sort of bloke – instantly disarming and warm, and just welcomed you into his life and made you feel that you belonged there.

I’d always marvelled at the things that he and Ethel got up – it always seemed that they had a million things on the go at the same time and somehow managed to make time to do each one of them brilliantly. I just love telling my friends and colleagues about this crazy puzzle-friend I have who not once, but twice, flew into the wrong coast for a North American puzzle party and then cycled from Alaska to Ottawa and DC… Laurie was just one of those guys you meet once in a lifetime – the guy who drinks from the firehose of life and still wants more.

At the service this morning there were some familiar stories (picture a group of submariners yelling "Blindfold the duck!") and comments that we immediately recognised as being spot-on descriptions of Laurie ("the red pom-pom's attached to the yellow pom-pom, and the yellow pom-pom's attached to the...") … and then there were the stories we hadn’t even heard (singing Drake's Drum in the main cabin of HMS Victory!) that made some of us realise there were so many more facets to Laurie that we hadn’t even known about… he truly was a giant among men – literally and figuratively.

We're going to miss our puzzling friend – lots of hugs to Ethel and all the Primes. 

Love Allard & Gill


  1. great words Allard, he was so much more, he became an instant friend to all who had the fortune to meet him, I feel priviledged to have know him for 15 years, sad to see you go, but where you are now, there will be millions of puzzles to play with and unlimited km to cycle, sounds like heaven. Louis and Sue

  2. Beautiful. I too was there standing and happy to do so. To be in his presence one last time albeit differently still had such an impact.

  3. Well said Allard! I had wondered about writing something myself but could not find the words. I had only known him 3 years and felt he was a great friend and even a mentor. Amongst puzzlers, he was the very best of us and it would appear that amongst many other spheres of endeavour he was the best of them too. I'm sorry I couldn't get to his funeral but will be sure to raise many a glass and drink a toast to him in the future - "to Laurie..... The best of us!"


  4. Nice post Allard. I think it will be difficult to put into words how we will all miss Laurie. He was an absolute gentleman, and one great puzzlist ! Our thoughts and prays are with him and his family, but also with everyone else that will miss him deeply too, which will be many as he touched so many life's, I know how I felt when we got the news. He was a great friend to us all.

  5. Only know Laurie for just three years but enough to let me feel sad to lose him. He is such a English gentlemen. Help me quite many for my first ipp, always let me feel warm and welcome.

    Such a pity that I can't meet him again this year. Hope he enjoy magically and happy puzzling in heaven.

  6. Thank you Allard for finding the right words. Laurie was a man of exception that will be greatly missed. He was able to share its energy and enthusiasm everywhere he went and I will remember his friendship forever.