Andrew Kirk

Andrew Kirk

10 May 1956
London, United Kingdom
22 November 2022
London, United Kingdom
Words by
David Kirk Andrew's brother

Thank you all for being here. It is a huge comfort to Mum and Dad and me and all the family to see you all here and to know there are also friends and family joining remotely.

This is something that never ever crossed my mind that I would need to do for my little brother. Andy was nearly three years younger than me. I think growing up I always tried to look out for him, trying to protect him.

In Midrash Kohelet Rabbah we read:

When someone passes from this world, God says to the angels, “Go, see what the people say about them”

As a young boy growing up Andy very often had a smile on his face, would often joke about, he would try and make all those around him laugh. In those days he never took himself very seriously and tried to be the life and soul of any gathering. He seemed very happy, at times even somewhat of a dreamer. He could wind Mum around his little finger, and did so very often. His smile got him everything he wanted.

I well remember looking out of Mum and Dads’s bedroom window in Neasden, having held his hand to cross the road coming back from school. He would then proceed to take twenty minutes or more to walk down the road, stopping and stroking every cat along the way. He was in a world of his own.

He loved books and words and I recall much to my frustration he was reading before me. Numbers on the other hand? Well let’s not share his frustration with numbers and maths.

After leaving school Andy worked for three years with Peter Dominic in Central London and spent six months in France with their French operations. He obtained the Higher Certificate of The Wine and Spirit Trade Association. He enjoyed the retail scene and especially enjoyed drinking the good wines.

his passion for working in the travel industry

He then took himself to Sheffield and started a Business Study course and it was whilst there I think his travel bug started . For a couple of years aged twenty two he worked with Camping Club Med, helping to manage camp sites in the South of France and winter ski chalets in Andorra. He really enjoyed that outdoor life.

It was from 1980 onwards that his passion for working in the travel industry grew. Over the years he worked for a number of travel companies, including setting up his own.Initially he specialised in the Caribbean and developed a close relationship in particular with the Barbados Tourist Board. He so enjoyed visiting the islands and being with the local people.

For the last six years he worked with Travel Gallery, a family business in London, specialising in bespoke travel to Thailand, South East Asia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. I think his time working with Travel Gallery was amongst the happiest of his working life. The family were wonderful to him and supported him in so many ways and we are touched to have some of you with us today and others remotely.

The many messages we have seen from colleagues and associates tells us he was hugely respected and held in great affection. He had deep insights into the geographies he specialised in.Andy was never happier than when travelling, it was his passion. He loved talking about it. He developed a real love for the Far East and in truth I think his heart was in the East. He loved the people, the history, the culture and of course the food.

Andy had a very wide general knowledge. He liked playing word games at Christmas, especially against his Uncle Frank.

loved good jokes and often made us all laugh

Reflecting on Andy I would say, he was gentle, kind, unassuming.

He made no judgements about others.

I rarely heard him utter a bad word about anyone. He wasn’t a jealous person.

He was concerned about the ills of the world.

He disliked pomp and ceremony.

He loved good jokes and often made us all laugh at his one-liners.

He loved nature.

I think it is fair to say that Andy could be a bit of a loner. He could be quite a private person. I think he compartmentalised his life. He had family, work and his private life, which to be honest we do not know much about. But he loved meeting and talking with new people.

He liked talking about sport and was a Spurs supporter.

I do not think he was a religious person but he did have an affinity to the Liberal Jewish Synagogue where he grew up. He was with us only a few months ago in this sanctuary on Kol Nidrei, and he always enjoyed Seder nights.

I am grateful for modern technologies these past thirty years, first the mobile phone, then text and then WhatsApp because it meant we could be in much closer contact. We were all treated to countless photos when he was travelling or preparing dishes at home.

Whenever we chatted he always asked me about Devora, Ben and Josh, and then of course about Joe and Sophie. He was always interested in what they were all doing. Family was important to him. He came to most family occasions which at times I am sure was not easy for him.

a close bond

Five years ago Andy came with us to Hanover with Mum and Dad. He had never talked much about the Shoah or our family history. I think he surprised himself at his reaction to this trip. He was deeply moved by it and we talked about it in depth afterwards.

With hindsight it is difficult to remember when his health issues started but it is a long time ago, maybe nearly twenty years ago. I am sad that maybe in his last years he did not take as much care of himself as he might have.

Literally seventeen days before his stroke he came for supper with Jennie and me. He was on great form, very chatty and as we usually did we talked about the state of the world, about politics. And we talked about Mum and Dad. I remember seeing his smile as he walked down the drive .

The Sunday before his stroke he was excited about a mallard duck he had bought from Chelsea market, and he then had a conversation with Jennie about how to cook it. And of course we all got the photos afterwards.

As brothers we were very different but we had a close bond.

Andy, I will continue to celebrate your life in all that I do.

I am so grateful to have had you as my brother.