Richard Blayden: “An incredibly intelligent man.”
These were the opening words from Richard’s memorial service. “Fun and fitness” was his motto for life. Richard was a thought leader, an athlete, a nature-lover and a non-conformist. He excelled at camping, fishing and hunting. Many would not know that he was an extraordinary marksman, representing Australia four times in international competition. As a youth, Richard found himself in the Principal’s office for refusing to wear his school cap. It was precisely this non-conformist attitude, or lack of blind trust in the establishment, that united us over the last few years of Richard’s life. More on this later.
Richard John Blayden was born in the UK on 14 Nov 1946. The second of four children, he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015 and lost his battle eight years later. Richard died at 76 years of age on 13th June 2023 at Blue Care Palliative care Wynnum with Ansie and their dog Scruffie by his side. He is survived by his wife Ansie, daughters, Kate and Sally, stepchildren, Antoine and Licelle, grandchildren, Rhian, Arjonette, Daisy, Sam, Millie and Joe.
I first met Richard in 1998, while working for BHP’s Global Maintenance Network.
He assisted the GMN team with some of the early Maintenance Evaluations. It was at this time that I knew he was an exceptional human being. Richard had an uncanny ability to communicate complex concepts using unique, personally-crafted diagrams.
Richard probably drew ten thousand such diagrams in his career, but I want to focus on just a few.
Situation Appraisal (circa 1999)
Here Richard “unpacked” the root causes of an inextricably complex situation – Breakdown Maintenance – using a combination of Root Cause Analysis and Senge’s System’s Thinking models. He used it often during the feedback sessions at Maintenance Evaluations and generously shared this skill with me.
Pipeline Model (circa 2000)
How often have your seen a version of this diagram to describe Maintenance Work Management? Plagiarism is the greatest form of flattery. Many people around the world have flattered Richard over the years by copying his Pipeline Model.
After Richard retired from Hatch and I left BHP we lost touch. However, it was around 2015 when we reconnected via email. Richard had just been diagnosed with cancer and he explained how he’d been analysing his bloodwork data and his chemo treatment schedule. He determined to advise his oncologist of improvements to the regimen based on his analysis.
Richard proceeded to ask me what I thought about man-made climate change. I said that I was agnostic about it. I pretty much believed what the media was telling me. I had no reason to think otherwise. He then introduced me to non-conformist views on Global Warming and Climate Change based on data from dissenting scientists. I’m now going to present just a sample of Richard’s work on the topic of Climate Change. Note: All of this has Richard’s prior approval.
I was hooked. I determined to find out for myself whether Carbon Dioxide and humans were to blame for the alleged “catastrophic Climate Change” occurring. My regular readers would realise just what an impact Richard had on my thinking. Because of his guidance and prodding, I’ve since published more than a dozen articles disputing the popular AGW narrative. A good summary of these can be found at: Closing Arguments.
Richard was not one to shy away from a good debate. In addition to the Climate change topic, we regularly exchanged emails and phone calls (literally hundreds) on the origins of the universe, evolution vs creation, the historical proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and more recently, woke Marxism and its deleterious impact on society.
Around 2018 we met for breakfast at Mt Gravatt.
Richard came to the restaurant with a signed copy of a book that he had written while at Hatch.
It included the Situation Appraisal Diagram, the Pipeline Model and the many Improvement Tips that he’d all grown to love during the GMN days.
Richard was also a prolific poet. I’m now going to include some excerpts from just a few of his poems.
The Death of History (we seem to have declining standards in our schools and an emerging lack of awareness of our history).
“So, our history’s important and from it we learn,
from successes and failures at each twist and turn.
In our cycle of life and opportunities and threats
by studying history we can strengthen our bets
on what not to do, or what outcomes to chase
there’s guidance in history in every case.
So our history remains an essential ‘true story’
to be taught to all children, on their path to glory.
But these days it’s different, with political intent,
the stories of our past are now twisted and bent
to hide from young people the truth of our past
so political agenda can be implemented to last.
And as memories of truth die off with old age
the younger generations will be trapped in a cage
of suppression of thought and government extremes
repeating the horrors of totalitarian regimes.
We know from the history of the Holy Land,
and from reading the scriptures of ancient mankind
the Jewish nation evolved where Israel now lies
so the land that they live in is no recent prize.
We know that Palestine was somewhere close by
and Muslims hate Jews and hope they all die.
But now there’s denial – the Jews are at fault
for defending their homes from constant assault!
So much is so wrong in education today,
our kids are being groomed to meekly obey.
With manipulated knowledge that’s trimmed to design
a future devoid of excellence so fine.
And who is the driver? Who’s culling the truth?
Who’s hiding our history from the minds of our youth?
The politically correct and the left-wing that’s who.
With greedy ambition for power over you!
Richard Blayden – July 2018
Choices (no matter what our starting point or position in life, our choices are a key determinant of where we end up).
“So life’s all about choices, we choose what to do,
those choices are made, by me and by you.
Some choose to work hard, responsibility to shoulder.
Others choose to depend, their demands growing bolder.
We can choose to be lawful, our community to support
or choose to be outcast, treating crime as a sport.
We can choose to give children their best start in life
or choose to stand idle, hatching hardship and strife.
So, our choice of life-choices is critical for all.
Our leadership strength is where it can fall.
As parents and partners we must make our stand strong.
Give love and good guidance between right and wrong.
And in media and politics we must make a stand
to help and to educate the kids in our land.
With graphic and forceful stories of woe,
bad choices just are NOT, the way you should go!
Richard Blayden – May’17
Recently, I realised that he was not doing well and so, on the way to the Gold Coast to attend an awards dinner in March, I stopped to visit Richard and Ansie at their home. Then just a few weeks ago, I learnt that Richard was in palliative care. This was the last chance I had to visit with him as my wife was about to undergo major surgery. While in Wynnum I had the opportunity to meet his step-daughter, Licelle and one of her children. Ansie and their dog, Scruffy were there continually by Richard’s side.
Here is a photo of my last meeting with Richard.
The Blayden family organised a touching memorial service today for Richard, which can be viewed here until 20 September 2023.
I was unable to attend this in person but watched the live-streamed event. The eulogies and the slide show of Richard’s life were beautiful. Thank you Ansie, Licelle and the Blayden family.
To end the memorial service, Richard’s step-son, Antoine, read an excerpt from Richard’s poem:
“I gaze upon the stars at night,
a shiny spread of dots of light.
That stretches far, so far away,
and changes slightly every day.
A picture that is crisp and clean,
extends beyond our wildest dream.
It’s what they call our universe,
to count the stars – a lifetime curse.
And where it ends, we do not know,
For out there is too far to go.
It’s a place we know but cannot see,
some say it’s called Infinity.
And that must be the outer edge
marked by some cosmic fence, or hedge.
So other things that hang around,
know this is where our Earth is found.
Our universe was made, some speak,
by God, in just one working week.
And truly if it’s Godly-made,
He must know where that fence is laid.
For it starts out with one big boom,
it’s now expanding and needs more room.
So busy God must be, extending His Infinity.”
Antione finished reading the poem and then added a final comment: “I think this poem says something about the relationship that Richard had with God, which a lot of people here do not know about.”
I thank God for Richard and for his impact on this world. He helped me to follow the evidence on climate change which helped me to renew my thinking on this important topic. Whether it be Climate Change or God, let’s not be sheeple, rather, independent thinkers who follow the evidence where it leads.