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