Saturday, 20 December 2014

2014 Memoriams June

3rd June 2014 – Sir Eldon Griffiths, 89

Tory MP for Bury St Edmonds from 1964-92, and Minister for Sport in the Heath government.

“Rangy, articulate, but dour, Griffiths was a political loner, and not over-popular on the Tory benches. Live on television, he embarrassingly mistook his colleague Jerry Hayes, almost a neighbour as MP for Harlow, for a socialist. In 1987 he managed both to alienate Sir Jeffrey Sterling, chairman of P&O, and cause a parliamentary row. Griffiths was piloting through a Bill to extend Felixstowe Docks, and suggested P&O hold a reception for MPs when it was debated. He then spoke at the 1922 Committee about P&O “pouring champagne down MPs’ gullets”; there was uproar in the House, and a furious Sterling cancelled the reception. Griffiths was pro-hanging, robust on defence, a hawk on Vietnam, opposed to sanctions against South Africa and Rhodesia and anti-Stansted Airport; but pro-Europe, whales and nuclear power. In 1966 he abstained on a censure motion on Roy Jenkins over the escape of George Blake from Wormwood Scrubs, out of respect for Jenkins’s performance in the House.”
Telegraph obit

6th June 2014 – Eric Hill, 86

Author responsible for the Spot the Dog books.

“"Although this time of loss is a great hardship for us, we can honestly say that we take some solace in the joy he brought to so many children and families through his work. We know Spot, and therefore Eric, has had a beloved presence in so many homes and bedtime readings. And we know we share our grief with many."
Hill’s family statement, Guardian

“Since his 1980 debut, Where's Spot?, Hill's picture books have sold more than 60million copies around the world, according to Penguin. The popularity of his books led in 1983 to an animated series, The Adventures of Spot, which used a unique cut-paper technique to build up the movement of the characters while keeping the integrity of the original drawings. In a statement, Penguin's editor at large, Margaret Frith, recalled meeting the character Spot in London, the week before the Bologna Book Fair in 1979: "It was 'love at first sight,' and the beginning of a long friendship with Eric and that lovable puppy who became every young child's best 'buddy' as Eric liked to call him. Eric had an unerring understanding of Spot and his 2- and 3-year-old audience." Hill, who often referred to himself simply as "Spot's Dad," 
Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

“Children have far more intelligence and style than many adults credit them with", and he wanted them "to experience, through my drawings, ideas which were just outside their experience yet were basic enough to be understood. In Where's Spot? I thought it would be fun to draw a chair - in a period style rather than a straightforward type. A grand piano instead of an upright – pink rather than brown. Tables with cabriole legs and other decorative details. All to broaden the visual scope that a book can bring to a young mind," said the author. Their appeal, he has said, stems from their "sense of fun". "When he shows excitement on Christmas Day and cries 'Yippee', that's me in there. I love the character, he's my buddy and I'm at ease with him. Subconsciously I see things from the dog's point of view, so Spot is within me.” Eric Hill, quoted in the Guardian

Following the advice of the late Iain Banks about leaving these things too late, I wrote to Eric Hill last year, merely to thank him for all the pleasure his books gave me and my sister as kids. His letter in reply, from his retirement in America, was lovely, but the gesture in it was lovelier. For in a single bracket in my letter, I’d mentioned my own writing was going slowly at that time as me and my wife were expecting our first child. As a throwaway comment. Eric Hill took this one line, and sent the then unborn Sarah a copy of his first Spot book, Where’s Spot?, signed, with a note hoping that our child would enjoy her first Christmas. What a lovely man. His loss a mere few months later, when he was so full of life earlier, is heartbreaking.

8th June 2014 – Alexander Imich, 111

“I never thought I’d be that old.”
Imich, to the New York Times, in May

World’s oldest man and the only to reach that age and be famous in his own right, as a chemist who used scientific means to try  and prove the veracity of paranormal beliefs.

“Born to a wealthy Jewish family in Czestochowa in southern Poland, Mr Imich's father, who owned a decorating business, built an air strip for the early aviators. After fighting the Bolsheviks in the 1919-1921 Polish-Soviet war, the young sailor tried to become a captain in the Polish navy, but was told this was impossible for a Jew. He went on to become a chemistry professor, before developing a fascination for the occult, writing scholarly works about seances he attended. When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, he and his wife Wela fled to the Soviet-occupied north of the country, where they were shipped to a labour camp for refusing to accept Soviet nationality, before being freed and moved to Samarkand in what is now Uzbekistan, and back to Poland. There, they learned that most of their friends and family members had been killed by the Germans, and decided to emigrate to America in 1951, settling in Waterbury, Connecticut. Mr Imich moved to New York after Wala died in 1986. Asked if the hard times he had been through helped to prolong his life, he said: “It’s hard to say,” adding that “good genes,” a lack of children and athletics all probably played a part.“I was a gymnast,” he said. “Good runner, a good springer. Good javelin, and I was a good swimmer.””
Rosa Prince, Telegraph

“ Imich told Guinness World Records that his motto is that one should “always pursue what one loves and is passionate about.” For Imich, that passion was the paranormal. In 1995, at the age of 92, he published a book on the subject called “Incredible Tales of the Paranormal: Documented Accounts of Poltergeist, Levitations, Phantoms, and Other Phenomena." Imich had a collection of forks and spoons that he said had been bent using the power of the mind, also known as macropsychokinesis. “I watched ordinary people doing that,” he told the Times. Imich, who had a doctorate degree in chemistry and spoke five languages, even tried to persuade his fellow scientists that the soul survives the death of the body, reported.”
Ed Mazza, Huffington Post

“The compensation for dying is that I will learn all the things I was not able to learn here on Earth.” Imich, to the NY Times

9th June 2014 – Rik Mayall, 56

(Man - this month is a downer already! Source.)

“This house will become a shrine, and punks and skins and rastas will all gather round and hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader. And all the grown-ups will say, "But why are the kids crying?" And the kids will say, "Haven't you heard? Rick is dead! The People's Poet is dead!" And then one particularly sensitive and articulate teenager will say, "Other kids, do you understand nothing? How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?" And then another kid will say...[monologue ended by large fart]”
Rick, The Young  Ones

"Opening my very own Twitter to stop another bastard from doing it. So fuck off & don't expect to hear from me any time soon. Love Rik x" Rik Mayall’s one and only tweet

Not so much a comedy tour de force as a comedic tornado which blazed all through the best of British comedy since the 1980s, and yet has burned out all too soon. The average comedic actor is lucky if he finds that one project that will be the thing people remember him for. Rik Mayall, on the other hand, was a genius, and so had The Young Ones, The New Statesman, Blackadder and Bottom just to start off.

Discovered playing Bobby Gurgesteen (a deliberately bad US comic with awful catchphrases, belying the expert comic timing Mayall used in his performance) as a character around the live comedy circuit of the late 70s, Mayall and his life long friend Ade Edmondon were mentored by Alexei Sayle.

“Adrian was obviously vital to the act but it was Rik I couldn’t take my eyes off. Comedy is truly great is when it comes out of nothing, and the greatest of comedians, like Rik, have that rare ability to conjure laugh after laugh not from endless words but from a single look or one absurd gesture. He could make an audience start laughing as soon as he walked on stage and just stood there. "What?" he'd finally say, as if puzzled by the helpless laughter. He was also ridiculously physically brave: one of my abiding memories of making The Young Ones is Rik once again being taken off to hospital to be treated for some injury he’d had got while fearlessly throwing himself into a stunt.”
Alexei Sayle, Independent

The Young Ones was an anarchic savage satire of Thatcher’s Britain through the eyes of four students. Written almost entirely by Mayall, it was surrealism surrounded by pathos surrounded by fart jokes surrounded by guest appearances by Motorhead.  Nothing had ever been produced like it before or since.

“The Young Ones was total stark bollocking anarchy. Raving loony nonsense with an anti-Thatcherite bent. A flat of students whose only common bond is they like Cliff Richard. It was like punk had arrived on TV (although the music was usually London ska bands). It was anti-establishment and anti-everything at a time when conservatism, repression and conformism had peaked and popular discontent was swelling. And sometimes it just didn’t even make any sense at all. It was deliberately surreal. They would break character, subliminal images and words would flicker at random, they would break through a wall into alternate universes – stuff like that. In this respect it was like a TV version of BBC radio’s The Goon Show where the writers and performers were creative and ambitious collaborators who pushed the boundaries of linear storytelling. British TV comedy shows of the time were variety features – Kenny Everitt, Morecambe & Wise, The Two Ronnies and Benny Hill to mention but a few – which would combine skits, audience items and musical interludes, but The Young Ones managed to do all that in a sit-com format. Monty Python’s Flying Circus had introduced the viewers of the previous decade to full colour absurdity, but this was unlike anything anyone had previously seen – and it was hilarious.
Tim Selwyn, Daily Blog

After The Young Ones were killed off (via Cliff, and a cliff), Mayall had a memorable double appearance in Blackadder as Lord Flashheart. WOOF!

“"Rik would sit down with (writer) Richard (Curtis) before we'd get to rehearsal, and he'd suggest all these amazing different ways of doing things," remembered John Lloyd today. "And he had control over the costume and makeup department, who absolutely adored him. He was a terrific guy to work with because he was such fun, but also a consummate professional. He would come in, in the second series of 'Blackadder' when he played Flashheart for the first time, with this ludicrous blond wig with seashells in it and moustache, that he had managed to persuade them to concoct without anybody knowing." John added that Rik, who started out in standup, had always been "amazingly funny" but that shouldn't cloud perceptions of his talents, because he was "a proper actor" too.”
Huffington Post

In the late 80s,  Laurence Marks and Rik Mayall were given a tour of the House of Commons by young Tory MP Michael Portillo. Portillo answered all their questions in great detail, delighted the well regarded comic and writer had such an interest in the topic. When The New Statesman appeared on screens a few months later, Thatcher was irate, and Portillo was keeping quiet. For Mayall had become Alan B’starde, Tory MP and all round lovable git, in a portrayal certainly not based on any aforementioned politicians.

“Mayall also found work as a straight actor, making what The Daily Telegraph called “a brilliant debut” as the dashingly good-looking dandy Ivan in Gogol’s The Government Inspector at the Olivier Theatre in 1985. In 1988 he starred with Stephen Fry in Simon Gray’s The Common Pursuit at the Phoenix, and in 1991 was what one critic considered a “downright nerdish” Vladimir in Waiting for Godot at the Queen’s Theatre. In Simon Gray’s ill-starred Cell Mates at the Albery in 1995 — Stephen Fry famously walked out of the production after three performances and vanished for several days — Mayall’s portrayal of the petty Irish criminal Sean Bourke was hailed as “brilliant” by The Sunday Telegraph’s John Gross: “At every stage he exerts a magnetic spell.” Telegraph obit

(B'starde was such a great comic creation, he could return in the Noughties as Blairite Labour MP with very little difference to the character - one of the most damning critiques of New Labour if there ever was one!)

His partnership with Edmondson continued with Bottom, a long running and popular TV and stage show.  They’d later show up in the same Jonathan Creek episode. He was a voice in the Shoebox Zoo, and read Georges Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl for Jackanory, which later got complaints it was too anarchic!

Mayall was a driving force behind three of the greatest British comedy pieces of the 1980s. First, there was the University Challenge episode of The Young Ones, Bambi, in which Rik and friends taken on the combined forces of Footlights College, Oxbridge. Not a single joke in the half hour, or line, is wasted. Rik’s lament/rant as he tries to commit suicide with laxatives – it’s funny in context – is the quote at the top of this obit, and it mixes the attempted pathos of a ridiculous character with the... fact he’s just taken a lot of laxatives, so you can guess the punchline!  By disguising it through the humour, the jokes about Thatchers Britain and established order are right on the nose. There’s even an appearance from bloody Motorhead.

The second is the episode of the Comic Strip Presents entitled Mr Jolly Lives Next Door. In it, Rik and Ade run an escourt service, completely unaware that Peter Cook (Mr Jolly) in the office next to theirs is a serial killer.  A bungled attempt by gangsters to contact Cook leads the duo to “take out Nicholas Parsons”, as in escourt rather than kill.  A further series of miscommunications lead to everyone, including the superb Parsons who is a splendid foil playing himself, believing they are all on the same page, when they are in fact on opposite texts entirely.


And for the third, it would be hard to pick one mere episode of The New Statesman, so let’s pick a three parter. Who Shot Alan B’starde is at turns sick, black humoured, witty with a good deal of social commentary, and never lets up for its entire run time.

“There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish b------." Ade Edmondson

11th June 2014 – Ruby Dee, 91

American actress who was in Do The Right Thing and was married to Ossie Davis.

12th June 2014 – Jimmy Scott, 88

Jazz singer who appeared in Twin Peaks.

12th June 2014 – Carla Laemmle, 104

Silent movie actress who first appeared in an uncredited role in the Lon Chaney Phantom of the Opera back in 1925, and had her last credit in 2014 for a low budget horror called Mansion of Blood. Her acting career lasted longer than most people’s lives do. She was also in the Bela Lugosi Dracula. She was the niece of Universal Pictures founder Carl.

“Carla's birthday fell right around Halloween, so she would always have "a combination Halloween/birthday party," she told THR's Scott Feinberg in a 2012 interview. One year, she decided to put on a "fright show" at the studio, famous for Dracula and other movie monsters such as Frankenstein and the Wolf Man. "I called the property department, and they came up, and they rigged everything up for Halloween, you know? All kinds of spooky stuff. … They did a beautiful job with lighting effects and everything — very spooky," she recalled. "As we were going down the pathway, this skeleton jumped out at one of my guests, and she fainted." In financial trouble, the Laemmle family was forced to sell Universal in 1936.” Mike Barnes, Hollywood reporter

13th June 2014 – Gyula Grosics, 88

“Football cannot be named after political systems. It is true the political leadership in Hungary fully exploited our success for their own good, but it would be going too far to say that Communism or the socialist system had anything to do with the Hungarian success.”
Gyula Grosics, to Jonathan Wilson, Behind the Curtain

The Black Panther.  Heavy anti-Communist dissident who also happened to be the Hungarian national team goalkeeper during their greatest era with Puskas, Kocsis and co.  He went from house arrest to World Cup finals, then undesirable status to being called back to the Hungarian team, for they had no equals to his abilities as a goalkeeper. He also used his house to store weapons during the Hungarian uprising in 1956!

“The first major tournament he helped to win was at the Olympics in Finland in 1952, when the Hungarians belatedly came out from behind the iron curtain to show their skills. Having easily beaten Italy 3-0 in May 1953 at the inauguration of Rome's Olympic stadium, the Hungarians came to Wembley that November and they triumphed again. By half time the Hungarians had taken a shattering 4-2 lead... Grosic, in fact, just before half time, had made a typically spectacular save from a header by the English outside-left George Robb. Had it gone in, there might have been a somewhat different story. "It was a bit of a surprise," Grosics would say later, "that England were so unaware of our deep-lying centre-forward strategy. We had been playing it for some time and their coaches must have seen us. But once the game started, it was even more of a surprise that their defence seemed so totally unable to adjust to it. They just kept on playing the same way, and that meant that England's centre-half, [Harry] Johnston, had no one to mark and didn't know what to do. It also meant that [NĂ¡ndor] Hidegkuti was free to operate, and score, from midfield." He also admitted, before the game: "One could almost feel the fear and concern among us, and the huge weight of expectation upon us. English football was the best in the world. I think anyone would have been afraid."
Brian Glanville, Guardian obit.

Before the Hungarians visited Wembley, the English FA and press delighted in being undefeated at home and the World Champions by default, they didn’t need to win any tournaments to prove that. Hungary swiftly won  6-3, ending the streak.

The FA asked for a rematch to prove it was a fluke.

Hungary won that 7-1.

He played in three World Cups, and could well have played in a fourth.

14th June 2014 – Sam Kelly, 70

Actor who was Bunny Warren in Porridge and Hans Geering in Allo Allo. He had many other memorable appearances on TV (including Black Books, as Mannys father).

14th June 2014 – Francis Matthews, 86

The voice of Captain Scarlet.

Or Paul Temple , if you’d like.

A marvellous actor, he was also known, among many other roles, for parts in Brat Farrar, Dracula: Prince of Darkness and The Revenge of Frankenstein.

“Overhearing an interview in which Matthews did a jokey impression of Cary Grant, the producer Gerry Anderson cast him in his puppet saga Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (ATV, 1967-68). Matthews, who once listed "talking to children" among his hobbies, was probably pleased with the series' enduring appeal, although later, participating in conventions and interviews, he observed of the fans: "They dress up and stare at you when you're signing the autograph, as if you're some kind of extraordinary god!"
Gavin Gaughan, Guardian obit

14th June 2014 – Terry Richards, 81

Stuntman who had numerous credits, but was instantly memorable for playing the swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark whom Indiana Jones shoots.

15th June 2014 – Casey Kasem, 82

American voice artist and DJ best known for the orle of Shaggy in Scooby Doo.

15th June 2014 – Daniel Keyes, 86

Author who wrote Flowers for Algernon.

17th June 2014 – Patsy Byrne, 80

Actress best known for her role as Nursie in Blackadder.

17th June 2014 – Jeffrey Wickham, 80

Actor who was former President of Equity.

19th June 2014 – Gerry Goffin, 75

Songwriter who with his wife Carole King, wrote (among many) The Locomotion, Saving all my Love for you, Some Kind of Wonderful, One Fine Day, and (You Make Me Feel like) A Natural Woman.

19th June 2014 – Ibrahim Toure, 28

Football player who was the younger brother of Yaya and Kolo Toure.  He had a short stay at Nice in 2007 before ill health stimmied his career.

20th June 2014 – Norman Sheffield, 75

Former manager of Queen.

21st June 2014 – Gerry Conlon, 60

"Hanging ought to be retained for murder most foul. We shouldn't have all these campaigns to get the Birmingham Six [and the Guildford Four] released if they'd been hanged. They'd have been forgotten, and the whole community would be satisfied... It is better that some innocent men remain in jail than that the integrity of the English judicial system be impugned."
Lord Denning

Man wrongfully jailed as an IRA bomber for fourteen years. His father was also wrongfully jailed after arriving in England after his sons arrest, and died in jail. Despite the police evidence proving... well, falsified, and the actual IRA bombers confessing to the crimes, Conlon and co stayed in prison.  Journalists like Paul Foot and Chris Mullin, and programmes like World in Action fought to present the evidence that these people were wrongfully imprisoned, against a smear campaign from the police sympathetic Sun and other rags.

“In life he was famed as one of “the Guilford Four” – immortalised on the silver screen by Sir Daniel Day-Lewis in the Oscar-nominated film In The Name Of The Father. In death he will be remembered as a tireless campaigner against miscarriages of justice, after his own wrongful conviction for the 1974 bomb plot. It was a conviction he never really recovered from.” Raf Sanchez, Telegraph

“In no way equipped with self-discipline or even physical stamina or fortified with any political rationale for his fate, he entered the hell of the English prisons of the 1970s, when to be Irish – and even more, IRA – was to be in danger. Year after year of solitary confinement, punishment imposed for endlessly angrily asserting his innocence, movement without notice from prison to prison, often just when his mother was using her one week's holiday to visit her husband and her son at different ends of England, humiliation, degradation and fear nevertheless fuelled an insistence that he could and would take charge of his own fate. He clamoured and shouted and wrote and in the later years telephoned and besieged the great and the good until gradually there was movement, by the slowest of degrees. The release when it came, came with the sudden falling of the citadel; all of the evidence had been fabricated. Everyone had been wrong and he had been right. The euphoria of release almost immediately evaporated in the pandemonium of public attention; the longed for reunion was with a family too damaged to accommodate the ways in which he was haunted by demons. He had nevertheless an acute, intelligent and articulate raw voice which vividly communicated his experience of injustice. From his book Proved Innocent (1991) there followed a film, In the Name of the Father (1993).”
Gareth Peirce, Guardian obit

Conlon never physically recovered from his ordeal, and died after a short battle with cancer.

22nd June 2014 – Felix Dennis, 67

Magazine publisher.

“It was 1967, "the summer of love", and Felix soon joined the Oz team, designing, and writing music reviews. In the era of velvet and beads, he wore a snappy business suit, the better to persuade printers, distributors and advertisers that Oz was viable and reliable, despite its chaotic schedules. In 1970, Oz was raided by the obscene publications division of the Metropolitan Police. The three editors, Richard, Felix and Jim Anderson, were charged with conspiring to corrupt the morals of the young for Oz No 28, an issue that had been put together entirely by children and which included a sexually explicit parody of the Rupert Bear cartoon strip. With  John Mortimer as their defence barrister, they were eventually acquitted of the conspiracy charge, but jailed for two other minor offences. Judge Michael Argyle, whose summing up was later discredited for its numerous discrepancies, gave Felix a shorter sentence than the others, considering him to be the "least intelligent" and so less culpable. This haunted Felix and those of us working on the Oz defence team detected a class bias: Felix was assertive, but did not then display the sophistication of Richard and Jim, posh Australians with a university education. Felix believed that the judge had felt sorry for him because he was the youngest. All three Oz editors were finally released and won their appeal.”
Marsha Rowe, Guardian obit

24th June 2014 – David Taylor, 60

Former chief executive of the SFA.

“He joined the Scottish Development Agency (now Scottish Enterprise) in 1985, and held a succession of senior positions before being appointed the first Director of Scottish Trade International - a body set up to promote Scottish business overseas - prior to his appointment to the Scottish FA. Qualified lawyer Taylor was appointed UEFA general secretary in May 2007. He became an executive director at the European football governing body, making him one of the most important administrators in the world game. The Forfar-born executive was formerly Chief Executive of the Scottish Football Association, before moving to become Joint General Secretary of UEFA in 2007. Taylor led Scotland and Ireland’s failed bid to win the right to host the European Championships in 2008. He began the campaign in 2001, but the bid eventually lost out to one by Austria and Switzerland.” Keith McLeod, Daily Record obit

“"He was an invaluable addition to UEFA when he first joined us as General Secretary, and brought us considerable experience and wisdom as a football administrator of the highest calibre. In addition, he gave us his boundless enthusiasm as a lover of football, who adored the game and enjoyed many memorable moments following Scotland's fortunes. We will all greatly miss his outstanding professional competence, as well as his countless qualities as a colleague and a person.” Michel Platini

Tayor was the architect of the upcoming change in the European Championships, moving from 16 teams to 24 teams.

24th June 2014 – Eli Wallach, 98

Actor best known for his defining role in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was Tuco. He also had a memorable appearance in the wonderful Tales of the Unexpected episode Shatterproof, playing an elderly collector who disarms an assassin sent by his ex-wife with his ability to talk (and intelligence) alone. Starting out on all the anthology series of the 1950s on TV, Wallach got his big break as one of The Magnificent Seven. 

This swiftly followed with the role of Guido in The Misfits, a film unfairly maligned for its reputation as being the last film of both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, as well as one of the last of Montgomery Clift. Stock raised, Wallach was one of a A list cast in How the West was Won, and continued to appear in film through the 1960s (the aforementioned Leone classic and MacKennas Gold to name but 2), taking a brief break to appear in the popular Adam West Batman series, as Mr Freeze. Of the Mesiner school of acting, Wallach transcended the method with his talent.

“He continued his film work well into his 90s. He was a disillusioned screenwriter in “The Holiday” (2006). In “Tickling Leo” (2009), he played the guilt-ridden patriarch of a Jewish family still haunted by the Holocaust. In Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer” (2010), Mr. Wallach played a mysterious old man living on fog-shrouded Martha’s Vineyard. And in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” (2010), which marked the return of Michael Douglas as the greed-stoked investor Gordon Gekko, Mr. Wallach hovered at the edge of the action like Poe’s sinister raven. More often than not, his film roles required him to play mustachioed characters who were lawless, evil or just plain nasty, which puzzled and challenged him. “Actually I lead a dual life,” he once said. “In the theater, I’m the little man, or the irritated man, the misunderstood man,” whereas in films “I do seem to keep getting cast as the bad guys.” His villain roles, he said, tended to be “more complex” than some of his stage roles.”
Robert Berkvist, New York Times

Having been a medical cadet during World War 2, his acting career lasted over fifty years. Despite his success at film level (though he’d self-depreciatingly refer to himself as a journeyman), Wallach remained loyal to the stage which gave him his first breakthrough to the very end.

26th June 2014 – Mary Rodgers, 83

Author of Freaky Friday.

27th June 2014 – Bobby Womack, 70


29th June 2014 – Sir Peter Barclay, 88

Welfare state advisor to Margaret Thatcher.

“His greatest contribution was to chair the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Inquiry into Income and Wealth (1995), an influential early analysis of the impact of increasing social inequality in the UK. The inquiry, set up in response to the gap between rich and poor rapidly widening during the 1980s, brought together a diverse group of organisations, including the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress. With great good humour and a touch of steel, Barclay managed to steer the participants towards unanimous agreement on a set of policy recommendations – including the introduction of a national minimum wage and improved support for low-income working families – almost all of which were adopted by the Labour government after 1997. Barclay also helped to shape government policy on social work and housing. As chairman of the National Institute for Social Work (1973-85) and then its president, he chaired the inquiry into the roles and tasks of social workers, whose 1982 report recommended greater emphasis on community engagement and a recognition of social workers as the gatekeepers of much needed but limited resources. His findings continue to resonate in the debate about the role of social workers today. He was chairman of the St Pancras Housing Association (founded by his aunt, Irene Barclay, the first female chartered surveyor and herself a pioneer in the field of social housing), and a trustee, and later chairman, of the charity Home Start, which provides support to parents of young children.” Jonathan Bradshaw, Guardian obit

30th June 2014 – Zeljko Sturanovic, 54

Prime Minister of Montenegro from 2006 to 2008. 

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