Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lord Deedes – In Memoriam

I awoke this morning to the news that Lord Deedes has died.

As I read the headlines, I instantly felt very sad and quite dejected. It is interesting how someone who I have never met can have such an influence over me. However, Lord Deedes, or Bill Deedes as he preferred to be known, was such a person. Indeed, I am sure that I am not the only one he has anonymously influenced over many years.

A charismatic man, he led life to the full, right up to his death at the age of 94 years.It would not be appropriate for me to try and describe the details of his fulfilled existence. Instead, I would refer my reader to the article in Wikipedia:, which makes for most interesting study.

My own experience of Lord Deedes has largely been through the columns of The Daily Telegraph, where he wrote a regular column (as well as being a past editor of the paper). His articles were always of great interest, well-written and thought-provoking, even if one did not always agree with his personal views.

Like many, I was impressed with how he continued to work despite his significant age. Indeed, it was he who first led me to the poet, A. E. Housman and his poem, The Shropshire Lad. I can remember reading an article about Bill Deedes from a few years ago in which he cited a few lines from this poem and stated how he used them as his personal mantra. The particular lines are:

Up, lad: when the journey's over
There'll be time enough to sleep.

I confess to have taken those lines to heart and have since used them on many an occasion when I find myself tempted to laze in the mornings.

Bill Deedes will have been an inspiration to many others, probably throughout the English speaking world. No doubt they, like me, will be feeling his loss today.

Well, Lord Deedes, your long and colourful journey is finally over. Thank you for what you offered to so many. You have certainly earned your sleep.

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