Wordsworth McAndrew – August 2008

– written for the memorial services held for him in New York and London

I first met Mac at the BBC, in London, where he was just finishing a TV course with some guys from Guyana Broadcasting Service.  I was doing an extra week’s training in radio there before I went out to Guyana, to do Voluntary Service Overseas at Broadcasts to Schools with Celeste Dolphin.

As it happened, my group shared a lounge with the Guyanese crew, so I was introduced to them all. I was immediately drawn to Mac, and as I had to find someone to interview for a radio project, I rashly asked him if I could interview him about Guyanese folklore and culture.  Of course, I could hardly have chosen a subject closer to his heart!  He told me all about Queh queh and Cumfa;  I found him fascinating, and as we saw a lot of each other for the rest of that week, I invited him down to stay with my family before he went back home.  When I arrived in Guyana, some weeks later, I didn’t have to be part of the usual VSO crowd, as I had an open door into his world. Continue reading

Geoff Beaghen and Hastings Arts – August 2011

I first met Geoff in 1987.  He was then in the throes of gathering together a group of people to form Hastings Arts – his vision of an umbrella organisation to include Music, Poetry, Film and Drama in addition to the Visual Arts.  Mutual friends had suggested that I should be the Theatre representative, and that’s how I came to know him.

His long-term dream was to establish an Arts Centre in Hastings that would not only act as an inspiration for local people and provide a venue for exhibitions and performances for local artists, but also help to regenerate the town itself.  Continue reading

My father, Harold Dexter, 1893-1989

My brother John asked me to write something about our father’s life,
and read it at his funeral.
Some of the incidents described are based on the memoirs I asked him to write,
and some are memories of my own.

My father was born in 1893, the second of six children; his older brother was Arthur, and after him came Charlie, Ernie, Ethel and Elsie.  At first they lived in Kennington, but later moved to Mitcham, where most of his early memories were centred.  I used to love hearing over and over again the stories he told about his childhood: like the time he was sent to buy an egg for a penny farthing, and having carried it carefully home and rested it gently on the sloping window sill while he knocked at the door, was bewildered to find that it had rolled off and smashed…  Or the time he was sent to purchase “a pennorth of pot ‘erbs”, not having the remotest idea what they were…  Or the time his mother sent him to buy a quill, and he decided the ostrich feathers were much prettier, so he bought the nicest one there, and then had to take it back to the shop, waiting outside for half an hour until the shop was empty, to pluck up the courage to go in…  Or the time his father sent him out, at the age of seven, to buy a mattressContinue reading