St Mary’s Cathedral : Homily
The Following was read by Father Monsignior at St Mary’s Cathedral in place of the usual homily.
Please note: What Father Monsignior actually read was adapted from the below because I was unable to read it myself. Surprisingly the only changes the priest made were to reference me directly as obviously he was reading it. However, I have included the originally intended version, which I would have dearly like to have delivered if I had the strength.
Born in Kirkbymoorside, County of York, England on 29 December 1970. Richard was the eldest and only son of Patricia and Barrie Walkland. Richard grew up with his twin sisters Claire and Carol Walkland and he often recalled when his parents ran a bed and breakfast from their home.
From an early age, Richard enjoyed a very deep and affectionate connection to his grandmother Muriel Walkland. It was always said that he was the spitting image of his grandfather Robert Walkland, who also tragically passed away when he was only 46, leaving Richard with a sense of fate from an early age.
As a child, Richard had many friends and many adventures. He found himself most engaged by and preferred being in nature. His father was a boat builder but he was also a football referee and often tried to get Richard engaged in the game, however rather than watch the game, his parents would find little Richard over the side of the hill looking at rocks and stones.
Richard’s love and fascination with geology guided him to complete a Bachelor of Applied Geology at the University of Sunderland. He graduated with a first class honors degree in 1993, and was awarded the Johnson, Poole and Bloomer Prize for academic excellence as well as the Moore medal for his services to geology. The Moore medal is a distinguished medal that is only awarded once every two years for the best dissertation produced across England. Richard, unphased by such awards, sent his father to accept the award on his behalf. Later in life Richard supplemented this degree with commercial and valuation studies which he completed at Imperial College, INSEAD, Colorado School of Mines and University of NSW.
For the initial 14 years of his career, Richard worked as an exploration geologist where he experienced first hand transitioning projects from the ore finding stage to exploitation stage. Whilst at Rio Tinto, Richard was intimately involved in the “Order of Magnitude” evaluation(s) of “Las Cruces” in Spain and “Murowa” in Zimbabwe. In 2004 Richard and I met for the first time whilst working for Rio Tinto. We partnered up and together became an unstoppable team within Rio Tinto and now within CITIC. We have been involved in new business, strategy and deal generation – as Richard always liked to put it, we are the “trouble shooters” and “fix it” team. Richard always maintained a spirit of naughtiness and humor. During Richard’s career he had an incredible and full international experience across remote areas in Europe, Africa, India, Brazil and China.
Richard married his childhood sweetheart Helen Martin in August 1995 and together they had two beautiful boys, Robert and Tom. Although Richard’s path saw him separate from his wife, he was first and foremost a father to his two boys. Both Rob and Tom were his highest priority and he was keenly focused on making sure that his relationship with them was strong.
Richard lived a very wide and vibrant life and seemed to pack more things into one year of his life than most people pack into their lifetimes. He was a Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) technical diver, rock climber, mountaineer, IT geek, archer, computer gamer, statistician, fancy dress extraordinaire. He was quintessentially English and proud to be so. He was an amazing cook, regularly played (and sometimes performed) finger-style guitar, played the violin and more recently attempted singing. He loved Star Wars, Bond films, and pretty much any action or spy movie. He had a passion for photography both being behind and in front of the camera. He was always searching out similes in what he and I would do generally. As many will know, he was a connoisseur of red wine, rum and scotch. Everyone that knew Richard will remember his playful attitude to life.
He loved the outdoors and so much of his life was centred on that – he relished in freaking out the lawyers with his knife collections and interest in firearms. He was a non-conformist in every way and constantly challenged the status quo. His Landrover, was furnished to reflect his style and personality.
Always immaculately dressed in either business or outdoor attire, he enjoyed taking photos of himself or looking at himself in a window whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Richard was no average person, with a tested IQ of 140 his career was large and he had a relentless will to fight evil. With the help of the Fulcrum team and the support of CITIC, Richard and I have led the work towards achieving a sustainable outcome for the Sino Iron Project and have often battled Clive Palmer to do so. Richard was my stronghold and my soul mate. He would often quote me “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to stand back and do nothing”. Richard was certainly happy to stand up and be counted in the fight for fairness and always pushed to find that extra bit of strength needed to fight a demanding battle.
When times were darkest or there was a large court case in trial, Richard and I would attend this church on a daily basis to seek the strength from God.
Richard was deeply spiritual; he and I shared a deep soul connection that comes from spending such an extraordinary time together over the past 13 years.
Richard told me that if his heart were to be described in terms of music, it would have the melancholy sound of a sad cello. He always had a strong sense of fate and in particular always though that he would pass at 46 (the same age his grandfather passed). He had a passion for sad folk songs, Richard would play them on his guitar, and I would sing them for him.
There is so much to say about Richard that it is impossible to do him justice with words. Many would describe him as a naughty boy, an incorrigible rascal, a pirate, a loving father, a colleague, a soul mate, a bright light, a sense of hope, a force to be reckoned with or a rogue. To me he was Rich, always there, never relenting and fiercely protecting and loving me.
Regardless of what Rich was to each of us individually, there is one thing that no one can dispute. He has left a strong legacy, a footprint that we will all remember.
Richard never wanted to be thought of as normal, he wanted to be a catalyst for change, the carnival mirror that changes your perspective and helps you discover a deeper truth. His life was all about challenging the social norms and conventional wisdom. Boundaries were there to be pushed.
Richard and I both kept a poem on our office walls, it inspired us and motivated us to do better. Let me share it with you.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”