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.