Loss of friends

It’s been a sad week for us with two funerals. The first, on Monday, was that of Penny Barley, much loved wife of Robin with whom I worked for several years in the late 1970’s and who was taken after a very short illness. She was far too young to have been taken yet at all and the sense of loss and her popularity was marked by the standing room only at the celebration of her life.

Yesterday, Thursday, Ann and I attended that of Keith Savage whom we had known for the nearly fifty years it is since he and I had served together with the East Suffolk Police at Lowestoft.

Those were the days of foot patrols, of great-coats surmounted with a cape when on night patrol shaking hands with shop door handles and of point duty in a white-painted wooden box at what was known as Tuttles corner, the junction of Waveney Road with what was then the A12. This was some time before we eventally took delivery of the first Panda cars in the town and he became Panda 4 and I Panda 2 (it was physically more comfortable policing but we lost touch with the public).

At John O'Groats

The four of us in 1968 – click for larger image

Towards the end of the 1960’s Keith and I, with our respective wives Doreen and Ann, spent a memorable holiday together bed and breakfasting round the Highlands of Scotland. Being realistic about the reliability of our own cars, Keith’s Morris Minor and my Sunbeam Alpine, we hired a Ford Corsair.

The image shows that we made it, all the way to the top (click the image for a larger version where the text is readable). We were young, carefree and full of hope and anticipation if a little windswept!

Yesterday brought some consolation, that of renewed acquaintance with Keith and Doreen’s son (and our Godson) Gary and of meeting his wife Natalie. Doreen and Keith had every right to be very proud of Gary’s achievements, of his double first at Cambridge, his doctorate and his teaching career at Eton, Westminster and now as Headmaster of Alleyn’s School at Dulwich. It was also good to renew friendships with colleagues not seen for so long.

In latter years after he had retired from the police Keith, always a collector, became a fellow bookseller with a shop in Saxmundham. We would visit on an occasional basis but never on a Tuesday afternoon or a Saturday when Ipswich Town were playing at home as he always had a prior engagement!

We’ll miss you, rest in peace Keith.

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