Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dear Bill


As one of his many thousand readers I would like to pay tribute to Bill Deedes (Lord Deedes) who died on Friday. By the reckoning of his late old pal Denis Thatcher (Margaret’s husband) he was ‘the greatest journalist in the whole of human history!
Whether he was writing about the tragedy of Darfur, his pigs, the countryside, his garden or his late wife’s soup I just had to read his column and if he thought someone was a good egg you’d better believe it.

He was one of that fast dying breed; the quintessential Englishman: wise, good, honest, self- deprecating, compassionate and funny. Auberon Waugh used him as the model for the character Boot in ‘Scoop’ and his fictional letters from Denis were a great success for the satirical magazine ‘Private Eye’.

He was gallant in battle – awarded the Military Cross in WW2, and a loving family man to his wife and four children. When he was replaced as editor of the Daily Telegraph he continued to work, with grace, as a journalist till the end of his long life. He travelled widely even in his nineties, raising awareness for the plight in Africa
and campaigning for the charity Care.

At the end of his last article written a fortnight ago - aged 94 - he wrote of Baden – Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout movement ‘Emphatically he was one of those men, who have left a footprint in the sands of time,’
Many of us feel the same way about you Bill.


john.g. said...

Here, here. Beautifully put!

apprentice said...

Yes lovely writing Pat. I didn't share his politics, but he did seem a very decent man in every sense of the word.

He fretted about not being able to complete/file his last piece as he was too ill - a trooper to the end.

Keith said...

He will be missed. When people like him die, it's a long time before a replacement is found; if ever.

PI said...

Thanks John! Glad you got the fireplaces.

Anna: I like to think of him as a humanitarian rather then a rabid Tory.

Keith: as you say - if ever. I didn't really want you to hurt yourself:)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I am not familiar with Lord Deedes, but I wish I were...This is such a beautiful tribute to this man, Pat...Heartfelt and it makes me wish I had been reading him on a daily basis, too! 94, and still working at the crafy he loved! A wonderful way to leave this mortal coil!

Shane said...

The term 'good egg' is always pleasing.

PI said...

Naomi:I never met him but always thought of him as Bill, and someone I could turn to if all else failed.

Shane: suits him to a 't' don't your think?


I read his stuff. (Don't suppose somebody like me's supposed to) I liked it and reading him I felt I liked him 'n'all.

PI said...

4d: I would have expected you = as a decent bloke - to have liked him - another decent bloke. BTW John G (see my side bat) recently gave up smoking with just one hypnosis. How is yours going?