S: Mark's Birthday, 2011
FC: Mark's Birthday, July 2011
1: Mark, we've put together a few thoughts and photographs which we hope you'll enjoy. with love on your birthday
2: Dear Mark, Although we just met and bonded on our special Mumbai taxi ride we feel as if we have known you for a much longer time. We wish you a very happy special birthday and the best that life has to offer. We will see you in Sydney or maybe sooner. Love, Jane and Allan
3: Dear Mark, Here is an old photo of my parents taken in Hanoi in the 80'. Little they new at that time that their daughter would end up in the UK, not to mention to play and record Raff (!) and to gain such wonderful friends like your family. So here is the biggest birthday hug from all of us. Thank you for being such a good friend and your dedication to Mr. Raff is a real inspiration. That sort of things :) as Bettine might say ! Tra
4: Chicken Pox!!! Poor Mark, tall dark and handsome with a full head of hair, covered from head to toe in red spots and calamine lotion! Have a very Happy 60th Birthday Mark Love from Christine xx Happy Birthday Mark Hope you have a lovely day and don't forget when you get too old to drive that lovely car, you know where I am!!!! Love from Lynette, Mike, Oliver and Bradley (Future Lexus Owners) xx Happy 60th Birthday Mark, Love and Best Wishes, Lynsey, Jon, Millie and Charlie xx
6: From the Desk of Mayor Mike Mayor of New York City, Holder of the Best Job Available in the Known World. No, I am not running for President ...yet. Dear Mr. Thomas ...... May I call you Mark? (You may call me Mr. Mayor or Sir). This Correspondence is to inform you about your recent draft to ICOW. Additional information and a complete draft notice will arrive under separate cover. Till we meet again, I remain Mr Mayor.
8: What's not to love about Mark? *His wanderlust *His professional and scholarly approach to the world of Raff *His chauffeuring foreigners about the land *His smoooooth handling of Texas Highway Patrol officers *His relatively consistent following of sat-nav directions *His tolerating an off-key American partner when singing duets of "The Lost Chord" *His explanation of the British meaning of the term "quite" *His diplomatic and gentlemanly handling of the two-handed "lift" while on road trips with short people *His taking in foreigners in the midst of unseasonably heavy snowstorms at holiday times *His spot-on analysis of political issues -- both foreign and domestic *His refusal to settle when tapas won't do *His intolerance for Mesilla, if you don't like that sort of thing. *His never-ending tutorials on computers and i-phones for the electronically-challenged But there's more . . .
9: His loving kindness for his mum and dad and for Gordon and Edna His unceasing pride in Edward And for having the wisdom to know what he'd found ( and how to keep her) when he met Gill. Gill and Mark at LBJ's birthplace in Texas AND HE'S ONLY 60! Mary
10: To love a composer's no gaffe - unless he's decidedly naff. But then, good ol' Mark... ...'s not having a lark By furth'ring the music of Raff! Many, many happy returns! Alan & Christine Howe
11: Mark is a wonderful member of the Stuart Singers His help has been invaluable - long may it continue. Happy Birthday! Gerry and Sheila
12: You think we are celebrating a much bigger number! | 21?
13: But it is 21 years since we inveigled you out to New Zealand to help educate our passenger transport sector in managing competition and tendering. And just look at the impact: The John and Mark show at Rotorua May 1990 New bus operator friends Two more conference presentations (or excuses to come and see your friends!) More bus operator friends Introducing Stagecoach to NZ And the personal impact: New travel ambitions – helicopters, buses, trains, cruises Shared interests – music, embroidery, craft, food, relaxation Midnight faxes on the phone That’s what friends do: they enrich our lives and experiences. Where would we be without you? Thank you for all you have shared in our lives, the love and laughter, and for fussing over us; in short, for being you. Have a great birthday, and wishing you many, many more. Fiona and Wayne
14: One person who can claim to have played an important role in your life could be Edna, who spotted you as excellent husband material as soon as she met you. Good work, Mummy! | Photo taken on honeymoon in Scotland, April 1980 uploaded by Gill
15: There are, of course, too many good memories to mention- whether its fish and chips on a tour of all the bus garages of South Wales, elephant riding in northern Thailand (less of a good one for you perhaps!) or poking around the ruins of Leptis Magna. A love of history and good food, excellent (if slightly overzealous) timekeeping... Few things are more comforting than being able to see exactly where most of my own interests, quirks - and (rare) bad habits - come from! Here's one of my favourite photos- Iguazu Falls, 2004... | uploaded by Edward
16: Fortunately, Gordon didn't listen when I told him not to introduce me to any more young National Bus managers, recognising that on this occasion, he could trust his excellent judgement!
17: Because there had to be a bus in here somewhere! uploaded by Gill
18: At Rheinfall, Switzerland, Summer 1984 My goodness, Mark, how big your glasses are! Uploaded by Gill
19: When we lived at Chantmarle, when it was the weekend or after school, we would borrow Wilf the head gardeners trolley. It was a 4 sided large box on wheels, it had a t shaped metal handle to pull & guide it with. We used to pull it up the long driveway, both jump in & take turns in steering it with the handle, quite often we would end up crashing into a wall! Once we even persuaded Mum to get in with us on her way to post a letter! We often used to get into trouble with Wilf, as when he came to use the trolley it wouldn't steer properly!!! | lots of love, Mandy xxx
20: When we were young.... uploaded by Gill
21: Cambridge, 2006
22: The view from the office, 1977 This is where Mark and I first met, as he was based in Wakefield Bus Station when I arrived in November 1975, parachuted in to run this nightmare depot at Belle Isle from the much calmer waters of Bristol. Looking back, the whole thing seems like a nightmare, but Mark's friendship made a tremendous difference throughout my time there ... and especially at the end! 37 years later, and we still remember the jokes we shared and the personalities we knew then, as well as many other wonderful times since. Here's to stacking up a few more!
23: When we were very young... Fast forward to 1992: the world has changed - and an addition to the family has arrived! Here are Mark and Edward at Tony and Olga's house in Lytham St Annes.
24: One from the archive! | Mark was under two weeks old when I took him out for the first time in his shiny new Silver Cross pram. I had our Boxer dog on the lead as well and left both pram and dog (lead secured to pram) outside the Post Office in the Prom. Inside, I met an old friend and business completed, we left together. After a while, she asked after the baby. Heavens! I was several streets away and had forgotten baby, pram and dog. I ran all the way back to find Mark still sleeping serenely, dog still on guard. Bettine/Mum
26: Discussing Raff, no doubt... (Avebury, 2007)
27: And another scene from amidst the stones. An exceedingly happy birthday from us!
28: Remember Mark, we first met (19xx NOT a Great Western loco!) in the malodorus setting of Rotorua (NZ) at, of all things, a somewhat boring bus conference where we were both speakers. Aiming to save both time and sanity,we combined to present the "Mark and John" Show" - well, we thought it was OK didn't we Mark? | And then there was THAT helicopter ride - teeth (well at least teeth) clenched for at least two reasons
29: But there is more New Zealand in the Thomas/Usher history, as the photos testify! It's a fair distance between "Twin Hills" and "The Quarry House", but that does not seem to make any difference, when we meet it's as if there has been no time or distance between us..
30: Congratulation on your 60 years of achievement, Mark, in all sorts of areas, and in all sorts of ways, from The Ushers Down Under!
31: I'm sure there will be more years of achievement to come! "Good on yer, mite!"
32: Mark, wishing you all the very best on your 60th. What a great opportunity to dig out the embarrassing photographs! Thank you for everything you've done for us in an official capacity as Godfather and on an ad hoc basis as friend, neighbour, IT helpdesk, careers advisor and operator of school buses among many more. With love from Mick, Fanny, Martin and Paul.
33: Happy Birthday Mark We are enriched by having you in our lives and look forward to your visits in the States with us. Love Diana and Kristi Kirst
34: We were so glad you joined the Circus with us......but where is the Pimm's ? It's always a pleasure to "share" the occasional meal and Minch Common was no exception! Congratulations !!! Have a very special Birthday....love Lynn and Chris
36: Mark and I first met when we were both in the bus industry in the People's Republic of South Yorkshire in the late 1970's. But it's not work that stays in my memory; it's children and music and sometimes both together. Children first. Maggie and I have two daughters, Jo and Emma, then aged about seven and four. He became like an older brother to them, amongst other things I remember him taking them to the swimming baths in Royston. Then music. We shared many musical tastes but Mark was more adventurous. He introduced us to Panufnik and Korngold but refused to have anything to do with the music of Hovhaness. Later in the USA and away from his influence we came to quite like some of Hovhaness' music and wonder what the fuss was about. Maggie and I had season tickets to the Sheffield series of concerts. Sometimes one of us could not go and Mark would stand in; he didn't seem at all fazed by being Ms M Mitchell! And the two together? Mark and I taking Jo, then about nine, to her first opera in her first long dress. It was Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel in Leeds and she has never forgotten it. Ian Mitchell
37: Alas we have only one photo of Mark. It's fairly obvious what the event is!
38: Happy Birthday Mark, successful businessman, benefactor of the arts, and true friend!
39: The Tostas from Stuttgart wish you all the best and drink to your health for the upcoming 60 years! Sabine Carola Martin Johannes Volker
40: Choir was where it all began about 10 years ago, since then you have become a good friend of all the family. You are celebrating your 60th birthday but we think of you as a 30 year old with 30 years experience! You are up for fun times, new challenges, a great party host, always generous and welcoming. Your advice and kindness is just what we have needed when life throws us its challenges. We feel honoured to share your birthday with you. With love from James & Jane | Us, June 2011 | Choir dinner, 2009 | Boxing Day, 2009 | 'Murder on the Dance Floor', 2009
41: Happy Birthday Mark! | by Eleanor | by Rosie-Jane | "Mark is always happy"! | "Mark is kind"
42: Mark Thomas is Adventurous Benevolent Charming Debonair Eloquent Friendly Generous Hospitable Industrious Joyful Kind Loyal Musical Natural Obliging Personable Questioning Resolute Sincere Thoughtful Unaffected Vivacious Willing Xmas Carol Singer Youthful Zealous | love from Sandy
43: Time to celebrate with a party for a few surprise guests