My old friend Derek died last Friday. He was about 85 and had smoked for 75 years, I have known him for about 32 years and he was a good friend to me and my kids. The ciggies took away his quality of life many years ago when his circulation and breathing became impaired and he has been in a bad way for at least 3 years, but his mind was still good until the end. My son Chris valued him as a friend, sent him large-print books when his eyes faded, bought him an electric wheelchair (he hardly used it, but the thought was there) and a mobile phone. Chris was broken up this evening when he heard the news, and has gone to spend the night with Derek's son Peter who lived with Derek and was his main carer. I'm broken up too and regret that I haven't seen Derek for months.
Derek, a devout Catholic, was an inveterate helper. During the Bosnian war he supported Sister Ursula, an American nun who lived there: he sent medical equipment blagged from NHS stores worth tens of thousands of pounds. Other charity work included sending seeds etc, donated at is request by British suppliers, worth £2M to where they were needed. He did many trips to Bosnia in convoys carrying aid that he had collected. When he was younger he and his wife Romana fostered a number of chidren, some of them difficult kids no-one else wanted.
God rest you Derek, you were one of the good guys.
Any people with faith, please pray for his soul and for his wife, who is in a home with Alzheimers, and his surviving kds.
Those without - just pause amoment and feel respect.
Thanks to everyone,