Recollecting Mark Woolveridge and his, er, teddy bear

My thanks go to Andrew Robertson for emailing this memory of working with Mark Woolveridge. Mark died in March 2022 and we reported on his death in the February 2023 bps news.

Andrew provided the following background information: ‘When BP took over Britoil, and before the organisations were fully integrated, it was necessary for the IT team in Glasgow to obtain authorisation for any significant expenditure from John Saint and the local board of directors. I appeared before them to seek authorisation for an item that I suspect was an upgrade or enhancement for the VAX systems to accommodate the large number of exploration staff transferring from London.’

This all sounded perfectly reasonable but it was the board’s composition that was a little out of the ordinary. Andrew continues: ‘The board was chaired by John Saint and included Chris Gibson Smith and Mark Woolveridge with his teddy bear! The teddy bear had a seat of its own next to Mark. It was disconcerting enough to see the bear but when Mark asked its opinion, it was surreal. The behaviour of Mark and his teddy was clearly familiar to the other board members. My request was approved but the opinion of the teddy bear was not minuted’.

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