A tribute to Geoff Mungham

FROM time to time in life you come across someone who has something special about them. You could call it "oomph"; you could call it the "x-factor".
Whatever it is you can't define it, but you know it when you come across it.

A man who had it in bucket loads died last Friday, leaving a big hole in many people's lives.

Geoff Mungham was a one-off. He taught journalism at Cardiff University, and through his teaching probably did more to promote Cardiff to the world than any official agency.

For many years he was City Councillor for Splott, did more than anyone in Cardiff to campaign for a Welsh Assembly, and would have made a fine AM.

He was a true Renaissance man, although he would have hated the title with his preference for panto over Pavarotti.

Geoff loved boxing and chess. When Lennox Lewis fought Frank Bruno in Cardiff, Geoff played chess with Lennox.

He recently completed a BBC series on the influence of the Welsh in the American Civil War.
A great friend of America, he loved country music but he was also a sharp critic of George W. Bush.

He was equally at home in the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles as he was in Splott Market.
A workaholic, he knew how to relax, as we did so often together over a glass of whisky.

He was a friend and inspiration to many, and marvellous company.
He was also one of the most exasperating people you could ever know.

Nothing I could writ would be enough to pay tribute to Geoff.
One of his former students has written about him, "with his death an encyclopaedia has been lost to silence".