The oil and gas industry, like most distinct parts of the world, is filled with memorable people. I could not even begin to list all those I have encountered over the years unless I wanted to write a book and who wants to read a tome about oilfield folk at this point in history?
But there are a few worth a casual mention. In 1988 , when I was still young (hah!) – which I guess is now under 40 – I went to Offshore Europe for the first time. I wasn’t new to the industry then – I started back in 1980 – but it was the first time I was paying my own way having set up my company and acquired Subsea Engineering News the year before. The doyenne of the press office at OffEur was a very friendly, helpful but nonetheless forthright public relations woman named Judith Patten. Judith had an ongoing business relationship with the company that ran OffEur and later the cross sector event known as All-Energy. Judith was then and remains a very dynamic and energetic person and I have crossed paths with her many times over the years, notably as the pr person for IMCA. And just to add another bit of info, her mother was Marguerite Patten, who was one of the earliest television cooks and cookbook writers.
Another truism is that some people seem to have to face tragedies multiple times in their lives. For example, a lovely woman named Sheila who cleaned for me when I first came to Cheltenham lost one child and several grandchildren to accidents plus her husband who died before time. Unfortunately Judith is another. She has lost both of her children to health issues. Her son Charlie was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008 and the Anthony Nolan Cancer Trust helped find not one, but two marrow donors, when his older sister Joanna was not a match. Joanna I remember helping out at one OffEur and was seen dancing at a disco with a known journo (no name!) at a converted church called the Ministry of Sin. Alas, Charlie died in 2015 at 39 two months before the birth of his son and after his sister has already passed away following complications from surgery. Very hard to see your children go before you.
This Saturday, Judith, without doubt a somewhat crazy woman, is doing a fundraising wing walk on a biplane for the Nolan Trust. If you are interested in supporting this cause, you can find more information at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/judith-gunton1. (Gunton was one of her married names.)