“Freedom is addictive. Childhood is forever.”
George Forder was an interesting guy. Adventure racer, teacher, cat lover and killer croquet player. Until he died, he lived a very creative life. Growing up in Estcourt he learned to play croquet on his parent’s front lawn. His older sisters adored and indulged him and perhaps allowed him to win when he was little. Winning became a habit because at croquet parties held throughout his life, he always won!
George trained as a Physical Education and English teacher (a curious combination which well illustrates the multi-facetted nature of the man) and taught at high schools for many years. Disappointed by the mainstream education system, George used every opportunity to mentor and teach young people about the things he believed were really important. His job as an Event Organiser neatly combined all these passions – teaching, sport and teamwork.
He relished organising trails for, and spending time with, students and observing how much they changed in just 10 days – discovering how much was possible and how much stronger they really were than they realised. “He was so generous with his time,” remembers his wife Penny, “he would become entirely immersed in helping the boys with their homework or sharing information with Kristel and Travis. He never said no.” Kristel Andrews and Travis Hesom have continued to run the business George set up. Kristel comments “George taught me everything that I know about the eventing world. He also taught me that if you place yourself around positive people you gain positive energy.”
George had been collaborating with N3TC on events for the past six years. “What a joy it was to work with George,” says Andy Visser, Marketing Manager of N3TC. “I just knew he would have everything under control and have arranged a superb event. He didn’t fret when challenges came up, I think he relished them! He was fun to be around and always had wonderful words of wisdom to share. He was one of a kind.”
Although he was a fanatical Adventure Racer, and won many events, the winning was not as important to him, as were the aspects of personal challenge and striving for excellence. Penny recalls “he ran the five-day Giant’s Cup hiking trail in one day, zooming past the surprised walkers. This was a spur of the moment decision one Saturday morning, just for fun!” George was a high energy individual who used his interaction with nature to balance himself.
George was killed in a car accident on his way to an event in March 2012. There can be no doubt that he crammed as much as he possibly could have into his life – waking each day excited about the possibility of adventure, playing his music at top volume, entertaining friends and truly living life out loud. “He was a big kid, really,” laughs Penny. “He did some very dangerous things. However at the same time, he was very cautious. He’d never let a kid without a helmet enter a mountain bike race. His friends in the multi-sport world describe his infectious passion, boundless enthusiasm, charisma, flair and commitment.
Family dinners when George decided to cook were always a surprise. He loved to experiment and was a great proponent of the ‘one dish dinner’. “Often we had no idea at all what the green gloop presented to us at table was,” laughs Penny. “He would have made sure it was nutritionally balanced with meat and veg and carbohydrates, then blended it or popped in the microwave. The boys managed by adding lots of tomato sauce, but sometimes we were defeated and simply couldn’t eat it!” He often made up exciting stories to go with his inventions and gave them crazy names like ‘Indian Tarantelato’ to help the nutrients go down. As much as he enjoyed his cooking adventures, he loved nothing more than a traditional lamb roast for Sunday lunch with family and friends (preferably cooked by Penny).
Writing was another of his passions. “I think he was aiming to retire and write one day” says Penny pensively. Late at night he wrote stories of life, love, dreams, adventures and the universe on his blog. These glimpses of George’s exuberant world outlive him to inspire others.
Life is about making the most of every moment. George had a grand time on our planet.