To Everyone at the Trust
Two weeks after joining the battalion my father died and Mark, as my first Sergeant Major,
unwittingly filled a void of being the person that I would think of when I was in a tight spot. “How would Mark deal with this?” became quite a powerful tool to get through situations that had me flustered at first. In Crossmaglen he almost single-handedly held the company together with his many qualities that have been listed elsewhere time and time again.
Almost a decade after I left the military Mark continued to inspire me whilst I was attempting to walk the length of the Amazon River. Cut off from civilisation as we know it I struggled to stay focussed and
positive. I would slip into dark moods and become angry at the slightest annoyance. Sometimes, acknowledging that I wouldn’t behave like I was were there other men around me I would imagine Mark alongside me shaking his head and smiling saying, “Sir – what on Earth are you doing?” It was often enough just to give me perspective, laugh at myself, and get a grip.
Great men have auras about them – they have nothing to prove and nothing
to hide. They aren’t afraid to be caring because their inner strength is
evident and needs no bolstering. In my eyes Mark was a great man.
I hope that this trust – set up in Mark’s name – can go some way to
continue the positivity and inspiration that Mark gave off when he was
alive. I wish everyone who gives up their time and energy to make sure
that happens the very best of luck.
Ed Stafford FRGS