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Graham was born in Darlington and lived in Stockton-on-Tees with his wife Anne. He made lasting impressions. A fellow fan of his beloved Middlesbrough FC posted that he'd known Graham through Oxbridge Infants and Juniors then Grange School, and how 'all the way through he was never anything but decent'.
Anne, a Sunderland fan, met Graham while they were both at Stockton Sixth Form College. He saw her Sunderland jacket and thought she wasn't bad looking for a Sunderland supporter! Anne shared Graham's love of the mountains, and was with him on and off the hill for 28 years. They climbed Kilimanjaro, trekked abroad, are Munroists and Donaldists, and have both been Hall of Famers since 2004.
Graham would travel to England away games, and was at six away fixtures on Middlesbrough's 2006 UEFA Cup run to the final at Eindhoven. He saw the funny side of the team missing out in 2007: 'at least Boro consider their financially stretched fans, and failed to qualify this season'. He was a regular in The Star pub before home games, enjoyed good company, and had an encyclopaedic knowledge of football that frustrated anyone pitted against him in a pub quiz.
As with many Hall members, Graham had a healthy interest in real ale. He kept in touch with friends such as Dave and Elaine through festivals devoted to the good stuff. They have been towers of support for Anne, helping sort through things like Graham's collection of over 2000 football, rugby, cricket, speedway and basketball programmes built up over a lifetime of dedication to live sport.
Anne is also partial to a good pint, and recently observed the first memorial real ale tour for Graham (with 15 of Graham's closest CAMRA colleagues). Graham's local is also organising a fund-raiser for Cleveland Search and Rescue, around the anniversary of his accident.
Graham was a long-time subscriber to The Angry Corrie. A typical note from Graham was stoical and funny about list changes:
'I fully expected the Munro revisions. My other major pastime is watching Middlesbrough. I've visited most football league grounds, and only had six left. Then, this year, Bolton, Derby, Stoke and Sunderland all got new grounds, Macclesfield came into the league, and Brighton went to ground-share with Gillingham. Now I've got twelve left. I suppose it's character building though'.
Graham regularly contributed to Marhofn, for example in 2007:
'The highlight was Fair Isle; we arrived and immediately felt chilled, and not from the northerly winds. A typical day staying at the bird observatory was breakfast, walk, lunch, walk, tea, walk, evening hot chocolate and biscuits'.
In 2006, when he and Anne returned to their car near Elvanfoot, he found Boro 7-0 down to Arsenal, resulting in a 'tirade of Golden Gordon (Ripping Yarns) proportions'. From then on Anne called the locality the '7-0 hills' when they passed them on one of their frequent trips north to Scotland.
Anne was with Graham on the summit of Yr Aran, which they reached without difficulty on their last walk, and was by his side within a few minutes of his fall, doing everything possible until help could be alerted and the RAF rescue got there. She has been back to the summit since, and is determined to continue hillwalking. Her planned Corbett completion will be a fitting tribute to this much missed, widely respected and greatly loved mountain of a man.
Material from The Angry Corrie, The Caledonian Mercury, from members of the 'Boro Fansonline.net community and from the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette is gratefully acknowledged.
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