It's funny how sometimes it takes a couple of days, along with checking and double checking to make sure you didn't dream something, before the cold reality hits you hard.
I was informed on Sunday of the very sad death of Trevor Collins of Mosborough & District Wargamers at the age of 51, following a sudden stroke.
I first met Trev about 25 years ago at my old club, Sheffield Wargames Society when he firstly sold me some fantasy figures and latterly commissioned some painting from me. We became friends very quickly, and despite the odd raised voice down the years and diverging in our gaming interests, still remained so.
It's all too common to read an obituary that tells the reader what a brilliant, funny and generous person the subject was. It has become a cliche, a template if you will for a society which never wants to see anything in the most positive way.
However, in this case, Trevor was all of the above and also much more.
In the mid 90s, as I was doing the whole child care routine following the birth of our daughter, I was painting here and there to make ends meet. I was also always around the home and Trev would call in at all times of day, to collect a unit or just have a cuppa and a damned good discussion about gaming.
His anecdotes about non-gaming exploits were the stuff of legend and his warmth and wit just made them all the funnier and enjoyable to hear.
He was at once a very physical presence and at the same time gentle and softly spoken.
I recall Trev calling around one day in a real temper, murder in his eyes. He was raging about how he had almost been forced from the road by a bin lorry and having finally passed the truck, he'd pulled over and taken them to task over their antics.
He was livid, and when the crew decided to 'get a bit leary' had offered to fight them all - one at a time or all at once!
Just as he seemed about to explode, my daughter came downstairs to see what the noise was. In characteristic style, Trev grinned at her and pulled a copy of Disney's 'Little Mermaid' from his pocket with a big 'Happy birthday, Quids!'
All the rage was forgotten.
As I type this, I am grinning broadly myself, because that was so typical of the man.
To Trev I was never 'Mark' or 'Hidesy' as with my other friends. I was always 'H' and he was the only person to call me that. The thought that I will never again hear 'Eyup H, how you doing pal?' together with a firm handshake, is a bitter and painful one.
Trev took up with the Mosborough crowd and played a big part in their display games, providing hundreds of superb figures for display games all over the U.K.
I know the kind of money that he paid out for his hobby, but he was never precious about his collection, gladly loaning it out to friends on many occasions over the years.
I could go on at length, but no words can truly capture the essence of Trev. He will I know be sorely missed not only by my family, but by his own and by many gaming buddies.
Ironically, on the very day of Trev's passing, my daughter gave birth to twin boys. I think there's a meaning hidden in that, somewhere.
If there is an afterlife, then I hope that Trevor is going at it with same enthusiasm he did in this one.
Rest In Peace, Trev...