Friends and Relations
Picture of Charles Gubbins.

Charles Gubbins (1952 – 2018)

When Charles entered a room, you noticed him. A tall man, he cut an impressive figure physically. But his presence filled the room in so many other ways: the broad smile that greeted everyone; the off-the-cuff remarks that could be high minded or downright silly – and he seemed to enjoy watching you work out which it was; the immediate and authentic connection he made with each of us.
He will be sadly missed.

Charles spent the early part of his life in Northampton. Educated at Oundle School, Charles spoke warmly of his time there – of happy times and friendships that lasted a lifetime. And, as he retold with a twinkle in his eye, he had served with distinction in the school’s Combined Cadet Force. He claimed, with that grin of his, that Cadet Sergeant Major Gubbins ran an orderly platoon.

Graduating from the University of St Andrews in 1974 with a degree in Science, Charles chose to enter the world of professional accountancy. He excelled in his studies and although he spent a period in professional practice, teaching others was his forte. His extraordinary passion and knowledge of the subjects allied to a mischievous sense of fun made for a compelling combination.
His lectures – or more accurately perhaps – his lecturing style was legendary. Few could make topics like financial reporting, governance, audit or assurance as accessible and engaging as Charles. And fewer still could insert references to the comedy characters ‘Jack and Victor’ into lectures on seemingly serious subjects. What he described as his ‘multimedia presentations’ would feature videos, quizzes and music – he had the knack picking the right soundtrack to suit the moment. At a moment of significant financial upheaval, a group of senior Treasury Officials who rushed to be briefed by Charles on an important IFRS update, were welcomed into the room by the strains of ‘Manic Monday’. Not that he needed the props - like the best teachers, he wore his expertise lightly and made learning with him irresistibly easy.

Well-travelled, Charles spent his time between homes in Cambridge, Spain and Edinburgh – he was very proud of his Scottish heritage and what it meant to him and his family. Away from work, Charles was a private man, but he would occasionally share his passion for Northampton Town FC and Glasgow Rangers. And, of course, there was his love of golf. A keen player and spectator, he would often arrange his holidays around the Major tournaments. He enjoyed following the play at this year’s Open at St Andrews so much, he missed his flight back to London.

There were other little foibles we became aware of: his consumption of diet cola or Earl Grey and Battenburg cake taken in the garden, and his late night teleshopping habit to name but a few. He loved the fun of snapping up a bargain and would gleefully relate of a great deal on a vacuum cleaner that came with three months interest free credit!

We are all diminished when a man like Charles is no longer amongst us. Those of us who were fortunate to know him as a colleague, to spend time with him, to confide in him and to seek out his counsel on occasion are acutely aware of this.

We know, too, the loss that his family and friends have suffered and we send our deepest sympathies to them. We hope it is some comfort to know that he was held in such high esteem by his colleagues and, of course, the countless students he inspired over his long and illustrious career.


Added by: Kasia Lloyd-Brown on 27th September 2018.





Stephen Bowen Fcca writes [30th October 2018]:

I have been very saddened to read about Charles’ passing. I first met him in the mid 90s when studying ACCA and then as a qualified on CPD update courses. He made accounting standards interesting to learn and easier to understand. He had such knowledge he will be sorely missed and the world of accountancy has become allbthe poorer. My thoughts are with his family

Stephen Bowen FCCA



Clare Hodgson writes [26th October 2018]:

Charles was a great guy. He was a kind man with a big personality and an equally big heart.

I worked with Charles for over 15 years through his work with ACCA. Charles was a legend on the accounting circuit. He was a true professional that would entertain our delegates with music, videos clips and stories. He had a unique gift of making leaning fun and our delegates loved him for it. And I loved working with him. One of our Channel Islands delegates would call us ‘Charles’ Angels’. ... [read more from Clare Hodgson]



Acca Professinal Courses writes [23rd October 2018]:

We have informed delegates of Charles' sad passing and the responses we received back on how many lives he touched (in various ways) has been overwhelming. Please find these below:

• I am really sorry to hear about Charles, he was such an informed and talented person and fun with it.
He will be sorely missed.

• What a shock. Saddened to hear this news. An inspirational speaker, he will be missed. Heart goes out to his family. Such a sad loss. A hard act for anyone to follow here. ... [read more from Acca Professinal Courses]



Stevie Walsh writes [23rd October 2018]:

I had worked with Charles for over 11 years and we would tour the UK together each year leading up to Christmas. We would regularly go for dinner and rate the hotels we stayed in the next day! In Bristol we had a yearly booking at a Chinese restaurant (that he would book) as he knew how much I loved the Hot and Sour soup! Then as long as he had sound to play his music clips and a Pepsi Max in hand he was ready to fascinate another room of delegates.

He would often teach me something new (probably ... [read more from Stevie Walsh]



Lynette Symons writes [21st October 2018]:

You always knew when Charles had arrived at the office.
Beaming smiles and a barrage of witty remarks would welcome you to the day ahead. No one was safe.

Underneath his banter though was a man who clearly loved what he did and deeply cared about his work colleagues. Like many writing here, I came to see Charles as a close friend who I could always depend on - whether it was for advice over an early supper or a bad joke or indeed amazing wine. Charles, thank you - your stories will remain ... [read more from Lynette Symons]



Diana Staines writes [18th October 2018]:

When I think of Charles, I think about how the atmosphere lifted whenever he walked into the office. A warm, kind and generous soul I was always so pleased to see. You just knew the day ahead would be full of laughter. There was never a dull moment with Charles around. I don't know how he managed to get away with all his cheeky comments, but he always did and somehow the same old telephone joke never actually became old. You knew he was going to ask for the complaints department every...single...time. ... [read more from Diana Staines]



Dave Kingston writes [16th October 2018]:

I count myself lucky to have worked with Charles.

Work was always a better place when he was around and whether he was grappling with an expenses policy, dealing with a faculty issue or sensitively handling a restructuring; he did it with a smile. He was kind, generous and fair – a calming soul who genuinely cared for others. He always had time for you and was never too busy for a laugh and joke.

He will be greatly missed.



Paul Wise writes [10th October 2018]:

When Charles came into the office, more often than not he would set up his work laptop opposite the marketing team.

He would love to roll out the one-liners (as we all know), but many of which were told at our own expense! He would enjoy seeing how far he could run with the joke whilst looking at you with a cheeky twinkle in his eye. And just when you thought you were off the hook...bam, a sharp response came straight at you.

Charles had a fantastic knack of putting people at ease and making ... [read more from Paul Wise]



Sarah Cordwell writes [9th October 2018]:

That smile, those teasing words, often uttered as a greeting, Charles had such a wonderful way of making the day much brighter. I had only really got to know Charles in the last five years and what a privilege that has been! The stories about his life that he shared with me over a glass of something naughty in the St Pancras bar, the shared love of St Andrews and Fife (I can’t visit St Andrews now without thinking of him and those university rituals) and the broad shoulders he metaphorically and ... [read more from Sarah Cordwell]



Kathy Walton writes [8th October 2018]:

Its strange what jumps into your mind when you think about someone. Whenever I visited the Kaplan Financial Cambridge office I never failed to see "the chair".... not for Mr Gubbins the standard office chair. Instead, an unctuous leather affair befitting of his stature and love of the finer things in life. The fact that it could barely fit in the room was a mere trifle to be overcome. Having read the memorial messages I like to now think it was bought as a bargain on a late night shopping channel. ... [read more from Kathy Walton]



Rob Wherrett writes [6th October 2018]:

Having known Charles for 46 years I can honestly say he was a brilliant friend. Always there when needed but never intrusive.

I shall miss the high-pitched giggle and the random comic remarks. We had some outrageous times together (the less said the better!) And that sense of shared spirit and mischief...

And I never forget him teaching a group of us the art of *steeplechasing* with the lounge furniture. We broke several armchairs and a sofa over the years! But we were young and spirited ... [read more from Rob Wherrett]



Guy Loveday writes [6th October 2018]:

I met Charles back in about 1985. We were both involved in exam training. He was always smiling and always likely to say something outrageous or cheeky. We both lectured on the same subjects and were both large individuals-indeed I have often been mistaken for Charles and he was often mistaken for me! We were only sporadically in touch in recent years but whenever we spoke it was if we were carrying on a conversation from the previous day! I will miss his humour and enthusiasm. It was an honour ... [read more from Guy Loveday]



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Picture of Charles Gubbins.
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Picture of Charles Gubbins.
Picture of Charles Gubbins.
Picture of Charles Gubbins.
Picture of Charles Gubbins.
Picture of Charles Gubbins.

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