Graham Keen, executive director of the HFMA, has written to members bidding a fond farewell to Colin Tophill, a founding member of the organization, after news was received that he had passed away on 6 January.
Tophill had suffered from ill health for some time, according to Keen in his tribute, but he had ‘handled this with his typical stoicism and good nature’.
“It is with huge regret,” Keen began in his note to members, “that I have to inform you of the very sad passing of Colin Tophill last night at the age of 89.
“Colin, who was a great stalwart, friend and supporter of the industry and one of the founding fathers of the HFMA, was much loved by everyone who had the pleasure to have been in his company. Aside from his many leading industry roles within the Booker/Brewhurst/Holland & Barrett empire, Colin served as Chair of the HFMA from 1984 to 1987, and after his retirement served as Membership Secretary for the HFMA working closely alongside the then Director, Penny Viner.
Colin, who was a great stalwart, friend and supporter of the industry … was much loved by everyone who had the pleasure to have been in his company
“Colin was the very deserved recipient of the HFMA’s Award of Honour – this industry’s most prestigious award – in 1998.
“More recently, many will know Colin from his organization for the last 25 years or so of the industry’s annual golf day, known as the Tophill Tournament, and this year’s event on 10th June was to have coincided with Colin’s milestone 90th birthday. Colin was also a very accomplished artist, with his own gallery, and I was one of many who relished receiving his annual Christmas card featuring one of his paintings,” Keen continued.
“I’m sure that everyone will join me in offering our sincerest condolences to Colin’s lovely wife of 56 years, Doreen, his steadfast supporter throughout his magnificent life, and their children Samantha and Julian. It is also very heartening to know that Colin was able to spend some time with his first grandchild Troy, who arrived … weeks ago. RIP Colin.”
Keen finished by adding that HFMA members would ‘be very well represented’ at the funeral. For anyone wishing for details of the service, information is available upon request via the HFMA.