Obituary: Anthony Fatayi-Williams
- 20 January 2011
- From the section UK
No-one could be left in any doubt about the passion with which Anthony Fatayi-Williams was loved by his family.
In the days after the London attacks, his mother Marie made a deeply emotional speech during the search for her son, not seen since a number 30 bus was blown open by a suicide bomber in Tavistock Square on 7 July 2005.
"My son Anthony is my first son, my only son, the head of my family. He's the love of my life. I am proud of him, I am still very proud of him. What did he do to deserve this?" she asked.
Five years on at the inquest into his death, she moved her audience a second time.
"His death has left a yawning vacuum in our lives and a sustained pain too strong for words and too deep for tears," she said.
"Oh, how I miss you sorely, such that the rose is not red and the violets are not blue any more for me."
Strong work ethic
Born in January 1979, to a Catholic mother and Muslim father, Anthony divided his childhood between Britain, France and Nigeria, attending school in Sevenoaks, Kent, Paris and Lagos.
He became fluent in French and went on to study for a degree in politics and economics at Bradford University.
Born of Nigerian parentage, his origins were far from humble: his mother, a senior oil executive, his father, one of Nigeria's leading medical practitioners.
In 2002, he followed his mother into the oil industry, joining Amec's oil and gas business. After two years, he became a regional executive developing new business in Africa.
His career ambitions were matched by a strong work ethic, and he planned to start a part-time Master's degree in oil and gas at Dundee University.
The day before his death, he earned plaudits from his industry for a presentation given at an oil seminar in London.
On 7 July 2005, he was on his way to the City to report back to his bosses on his success when he was caught up in the blast.
At 0947 BST, he made his last phone call to the office to let them know his journey to work had been disrupted.
It was five days after the attacks that his family heard of his fate, and weeks before Anthony's briefcase and gold chain, a gift from his mother, were returned.
At the inquest, his mother described Anthony as a selfless, dedicated young man with a big heart who cared and loved very much.
She said he doted on his two younger sisters, Aisha and Lauretta - one of whom has special needs.
"He lived for humanity and radiated joy and peace from childhood to adulthood," she told the hearing.
But those qualities also meant "he didn't handle sadness very well", as his cousin Tom Ikimi Jnr, 26, told the congregation at his funeral in Westminster Cathedral.
"Tears and sadness don't do anything for Anthony at this point. Only joy and happiness is the way he should be remembered."
Since his death, his family has set up the Anthony Fatayi-Williams Foundation for Peace and Conflict Resolution and plans are under way for an international youth centre for peace in Lagos, in Anthony's name.