Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Hugh Chatwin RIP

At the end of last year I mentioned a spell I'd had, living in Chelsea - part of a male foursome (sharing with women in those days was hardly thought of): it included Hugh Chatwin. I'd known him since childhood, our parents being friends.

The photograph on the left was taken in July 1971, when Hugh invited Rosalind Anderson and me for a fortnight's sailing in his Atalanta, "Rakia" along the beautiful coast of South Brittany.

We didn't see a lot of each other after the flat arrangement came to an end, indeed the last time I saw him was in July 2004 (see the other photograph). I never knew, therefore, that Hugh had been a member of the Green Party, standing for election in his home town, Stratford a couple of years ago (as I did many years before in the Cotswolds). Likewise (as I have) he had been involved with Transition in his beloved home community.

What a pity! As the news has just reached me of Hugh's sudden death last week, following heart surgery. He was a man with eyes wide full of life, and with the most infectious laugh I knew. A great story-teller too.

It was a wonder Hugh never seemed to settle down with any one person: he would surely have been a magical father and grandfather. I suppose he must have suffered more than anyone realised from the very serious traffic accident in which he was involved 30 or more years ago: afterwards, he seemed to have become an exaggerated version of himself. But also, surely, he suffered from being the younger brother of so famous a man as Bruce.

Hugh’s funeral service will take place in the Stratford-upon-Avon Guild Chapel (on the corner of Church Street and Chapel Lane) on Tuesday 24th July at 2 p.m.

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