It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of a dear friend, Richard, on 3rd January, after a long battle with Leukaemia. He passed away peacefully at home in Essex surrounded by his family and will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
We began our friendship in at Bancrofts in the under 12’s cricket team and despite out different allegiances – he in School and me in North house; he an Essex cricket fan, me a Lancastrian one – we remained firm friends and in regular contact until the end. We would meet up to play or watch cricket together, to compare notes on our parenting skills, to sink a few glasses of red or just chew the fat. Nobody could do going off at a tangent like Richard!
He had been one of the last batches of boarders as the school began to shift focus in the late 1960’s and amongst those to see the first two girls join the sixth-form in Despite his ability with a swinging ball, he was a talented cricketer who never quite made the First XI. He left school a year early due to family circumstances and completed his education at Palmers School and then North East London Polytechnic (as it then was) before embarking on a career in the Civil Service. His leisure time he filled in the winter watching Tilbury FC, first with his dad and brother and latterly with his sons, and in the summer playing cricket for Little Thurrock CC.
In February 1991 he married Lynda in a blizzard. Many guests, me included, were defeated by the snow. Together they continued to travel; I would regularly get postcards from far-flung parts of the world. And their love of travel was not diminished by the arrival of their three children, Alex, Becky and Nick.
Richard had lost his mum to cancer in his early twenties. I still have the letter he wrote to tell me. He understood when I lost my mother the same way twenty years later.
It was hard for him when, after long spells in St Barts Hospital in the preceding years, in the difficult isolation caused by Covid, his bone marrow transplant failed in the autumn of 2022. He faced what he knew was inevitable with grace and courage. It says much that in our last conversations, a few days before he died, he showed concern for other friends’ troubles rather than focusing on his own. That was just Richard; a kind, gentle man with a huge heart. Those of us who were privileged to know him are now diminished.
Our thoughts are with Lynda, Alex, Becky and Nick and his wider family at this difficult time.
Nick Cox (OB 1969-76)