My dear friend Vicktor Dworzanski (Vick) was fifty-two years old when he died a few days ago. He was cremated yesterday after a funeral mass at the Polish Catholic Church in Sherwood, which was attended by approximately two hundred people.

I was asked by his wife Elaine to say a few words in church. Here is what I said.

When opinions are solicited from a disparate group of an individual’s acquaintances regarding that person’s character, their perceptions often differ.

This is because most of us adjust our behaviour, as we do our language, to suit different social registers.

In that sense we’re all a little bit false.

Since our friend passed away I have spoken to many people who knew him, many of whom didn’t know each other and had little in common but their friendship with him.

And a strange thing occurred to me: every one had the same story to tell.

They spoke of his smile, his sense of fun, his ability to calm a potentially hot situation, his humanity, his devotion to his family…

In short, Vick was unique, a one-off — a man without camouflage. What you saw was what you got and nothing about him was either hidden or enhanced for social effect.

That was the Vick Experience.

The shortened Polish version of the name Vicktor is, I believe, spelt VICK.

The Letter V will always make me think of his Veracity, his truthfulness, his honesty in his dealings and accuracy in his work.

The letter I stands for the immensity of his stature as a human being , the immutability of his nature, his importance as a father, a husband, a son and a friend and the fact that he is irreplaceable.

C is for his circumspection, his canniness, his sense of camaraderie, his candour and his capacity for generosity.

And finally K is what he was: a King, a gentle giant.

That last letter is also the first letter of another word, the word “knock”.

It was Vick’s idiosyncratic way of bidding his friends farewell after a few drinks to knock twice on their table.

None of us will ever forget it.

Au revoir, my friend.

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