The President and Executive Committee of FEG
From Monica Carney, Blue Badge tourist guide, close friend and long time business partner of a tourist guide booking bureau:
Ever since I first met Richard, as a newly qualified guide in 1976, he has been passionate about his career as a guide, and his interests have always extended to Europe, having French and Italian as his working languages. Thirty-five years is a long time to be a guide and most guides over this period would have perhaps taken time out, or reduced their guiding commitments....not Richard! There has never been a time when he has taken a back seat, both in guiding and in tourist guiding policies and interests. His involvement in FEG has been total from the time of its conception, and he has served its members well over so many years, especially as its first President.
I would say that one of Rich
He has attended countless meetings and seminars, his interest never waning, and if European guiding issues are not being dealt with correctly, he will not hesitate to write a letter to the relevant guiding body, or government department to set the record straight. In conclusion...make sure you get your facts straight at this conference, or you too could call into your voicemail to hear that "the following message is 10 minutes long” and you'll know that Richard has something to add!
From Guido Lion, colleague, ANGT Vice-president & Italian FEG Delegate:
I seem to always be following in the footsteps of Eduardo D’Amico. In 1985 Eduardo was one the seven founders of the ANGT (Italian National Association of TGs) and its first President for nearly 8 years. Then in 1993 he was elected President of F.E.G. and Marcella Bagnasco became the new President of ANGT while I started being drawn into the Italian ExCo. In Santiago de Compostela (2000) I was then approached by Kathrine Prince who asked me whether I could take Eduardo’s place in the ExCo of FEG, as he would leave after 8 years. The “hand-over” took place the same year in Copenhagen where, as an absolute beginner, I expected to receive some training from him, which happened as follows:
Eduardo, who lived part of his life in Sweden, proposed we take a sauna together before his last day of chairmanship. We met at 5.30 a.m. in the wellness-centre of the hotel. All those who know me well will understand that there is no reason I would have woken up at that time, unless it was really important for my new commitment. I met him in the sauna at the agreed time and he started pouring water on the very hot stones each time producing dense clouds of steam. Immersed in the hot fog, naked, I was sitting at his side sweating and waiting for his advice. After 20 minutes in total silence, he jumped in a pool of iced water and told me to do the same. Out of the pool Eduardo started to vigorously rub his body with a towel and fell asleep on a couch.
When he woke up, around eight o’ clock, he told me we had to go and have breakfast because we were running late. At breakfast-time he was busy with the other ExCo-members and only just before start chairing his last AGM he told me: “Do your best” and that was all from him!!!
Looking back at this ‘lesson’, I now think this was better advice than a thousand other recommendations he might have given me. In conclusion, I need to say that Eduardo D’Amico really did a huge amount for Tourist Guides of Italy and for this reason I recently proposed to the Italian Ministry that he receives an official honour.
ANNIE PASSOT TOMIANKA
From Bernard Tomianka, devoted husband:
For the past 40 years or so, Berthillon on St Louis Island has been one of the top ice-cream parlours in Paris, renowned worldwide. For the past 40 years or so, Berthillon has been closing in August, during the peak month of the tourism season in France. For the past 20 years or so, Annie has been leaving for holidays with her family in August. She can thus definitely be considered as the Berthillon of French tourist guides. And she is a very lucky person:
Last September, Annie was working with tourists in Paris. She unfortunately left her iPhone in one of the least visited areas of Paris: the Eiffel Tower first floor’s toilet! When she realized she had forgotten her mobile, about two hundred women had already used the same facilities, i.e. two hundred possibilities of having lost it forever. She went back to the Eiffel Tower about twenty minutes later, talked to the lady in the toilets, who had found it and gave it back to her! One chance in a million!
While staying in Colombia in 1991 to meet her second adopted child, she once took a cab to get back from a swimming pool. In a hurry, she forgot her bag in the cab, with all the papers: passports, credit cards, airplane tickets, official adoption papers….. everything! Just imagine the problems to have these papers reissued and reproduced. In addition, they used to say that when you shake hands with a Colombian, better recount your fingers! And what happened? Thirty minutes later, the taxi driver came back to the hotel with Annie’s bag. Lucky Berthillon.
From Armelle Villepelet, friend, colleague and French FNGCI FEG delegate:
We have for the last 15 years been sharing parts of our lives while promoting the tourist guide profession. It is our passion, be it a rather stressful one, and not without obstacles. But being French, we sometimes strengthen ourselves with a good meal and some good wine together with our respective husbands. Fortunately, Bernard [Annie’s husband] is very knowledgeable about good wines... ! I have to say that Annie is an extremely loyal colleague, well able to argue our case and defend our position. She has always acted with great integrity and in the interest of her colleagues. I would like to stress the dedication of Annie; she was a founder member of FNGIC 30 years ago and she is still one of its most active members.
Bernard has definitely nothing to worry about as long as he keeps providing some very good bottles of wine for our extremely professional dinners….!
From Brian Hicks, Blue Badge tourist guide, close friend and former business partner:
Tom has always been an eccentric soul. I realised this when we decided to set up a business together. We decided to go to the Isle of Man. While there, we said we should have a meeting, this we did on a Ferris wheel. It wasn’t the best place to hold a meeting with Tom since he has a fear of heights and he seemed rather concerned with the threat of imminent death. The business was rather like the Ferris wheel - it had its ups and downs - but Tom remained good hearted throughout. He was and is always focused. Sometimes a little too focused.
On one occasion when we were setting up an exhibition, I received a phone call saying my flat was on fire. I told Tom, my fellow director, that this was the case. He said I couldn't leave because of the exhibition! For some bizarre reason he got me to call the Fire Brigade and check that it was not a hoax or some sort of mistake. So I duly called the fire brigade, they informed me that it was no hoax and that my flat was actually on fire. He then relented and said that I could now leave….!
I was on a coach tour once to Salisbury and had a rather frail lady with me who said she would be unable to walk to the cathedral. I took her to our lunch pub, and told her to relax and I would see her there in about an hour. Tom and I are both follically challenged [= have very little hair!] and have been mistaken for each other on various occasions. Tom was on a similar tour and ventured into the same pub. The frail lady on seeing him said 'I must thank you for being so kind and taking care of me'. Tom instantly realising this ‘mistaken identity’ said it was absolutely nothing and if he should require anything else at anytime she was just to ask. Tom at his best.
Tom is one of my closest and most loyal friends. Typical of Tom when he was honoured with an MBE for his services to tourism, he asked me if I would like to go with him to Buckingham Palace. I was very touched to see him rightly honoured in this way. He is a generous man and has time for everyone.