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Sunday 03 June 2018

It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Hugh. He was, for many years, the editor of the Newsletter, and a regular attendee of the monthly lectures. Many of you will have enjoyed his company on various visits, through the years, and also travelled with him on a number of overseas and UK cultural tours.

Hugh left behind a touching message to all those of us knew and loved him:

A few farewell thoughts

If you should be so tempted, please don't spend too much precious time in grief that I am gone. Remember that my death has come only after I have been privileged to have experienced rather more than my allotted time, and after I have been given the opportunity of preparing myself. Unfortunately and like so much in my life, rather inadequately I'm afraid!

Why should you grieve for me? Remember that by my death I am spared the remembrance of the opportunities in my life that I have lost or wasted. Console yourselves please with the truth that the impact of Myasthenia and MSA has given me a most precious gift, denied to those who die on the instant: the opportunity for preparation. Through that opportunity, and most importantly, I have been given the chance to try and make my peace with God. I have also been allowed the space to relish with a new intensity the splendour of the sunset, to stand in memory at least, though the actual attainment has sadly been not open to me, breathless again on the top of beloved hills; again to feel the comfortable reassurance of a softly purring cat, and again, and with particular poignancy, to hear splendid plays.

However Pamela, Emma, Malcolm, Daniel and Oliver and all my friends, the greatest gift is that I have had the awareness of the elapsing time to be with you, my dears, my loved ones, and to try to go some small way towards confirming what you have all meant to me. You must know that I have always found it so difficult to express my real thoughts. Please don't take my silence for disregard and try to find it in your hearts to forgive my painful reserve. I deeply regret that my diffidence, my nervousness and my painful tongue has often prevented me from expressing my real love for you all.

Gradually, quietly, inevitably, the pain of my death will fade· yes, even for those of you who have loved me. And that is exactly as it should be. If you should ever be so tempted, please don't waste your precious lives in painful, ritualised memories of me. Please find the wisdom to let me go: and that too will also be exactly as it should be. If, when at some unlooked-for time in the future some passing essence of me happens to creep, unlooked for, into your heart, I hope you will welcome me. Try to remember fondly the good times we shared together, the laughter, the closeness· and don't burden yourselves with any thoughts of what might have been, had I lived longer. Sadly, I am not just "waiting in the next room", but if, in your busy lives and all the happiness that I hope is yours, you can sometimes find a little space to remember me fondly, that will be my best epitaph and then, truly, I shall not have died.

And, in some way, we shall meet again……..

With all my love,