On the morning of Monday 2nd October, our friend Andy Foster passed away, following a brave battle with cancer.
Andy was our caretaker; that was his job title, but it didn’t come close to defining him. Andy took great pride in his work. Before he joined us, Andy was a firefighter with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. Looking after people was second nature to him.
He was great with his hands – we never found a thing he couldn’t fix (and we tried pretty hard) – and he loved to have fun. Forever young, yet wise, Andy could find something in common with everyone. Only a few weeks ago, he showed up to work with a fleet of remote control cars he’d built from scratch at home, so we could race them around the office.
Many of us were deeply affected by his kindness, his support and his positive outlook; all of us were impacted just by being in his presence. He didn’t just take on projects for work – he was usually the first to volunteer to help out in making our lives better. Just days after getting his diagnosis, he spent time helping me fit lighting at my local church.
Andy gave continuously without seeking personal reward or gratification – he was truly selfless. He never asked what was in it for him, never sought praise, his joy was always found in helping others. Whenever we approached Andy with a problem, his response was always to look to what he could do.
We only ever disagreed when I tried to persuade him to let others to take the burden – he would balk at wasting money, or anyone else’s time, when he could substitute it with his own hard work. I never won – you couldn’t stop Andy from helping, and he always delivered. Even through his recent battle, he could not be persuaded to rest when there was something left he could give.
From the moment Andy arrived, he epitomised our ethos. People from the outside looking in often make the mistake of thinking our company is defined by our software, but we know better. It is defined by people like Andy. People of character, compassion and purpose.
I’m proud that in Andy found a place where he knew he was appreciated and he was loved. Andy’s family will always be welcome here, and we’ll be reminded of him every day.
Andy showed us the joy in giving. He would probably smile at this, and make a typically self-deprecating comment – but people like Andy are why we come to work every day. He inspired us to contribute more, to give more and to be more.
I can only hope that the memory of his warmth, his quick smile and his hearty laugh will one day reduce the pain we feel in his loss.
None of us regret a single moment we spent with him – we only wish we could have had more.