Some of you may recall, as part of the Edward Thomas project on here a couple of years ago, a lovely post that included some pictures of a beautiful, hand-illustrated and bound edition of Edward Thomas's poem Adlestrop, done by ninety-year old Harold Page, Fran H-B's father.
Fran has been a daily visitor here for years, comments regularly, and we meet up occasionally, and indeed Team Edward Thomas saw that work for real as Fran brought it with her when we took tea with author Matthew Hollis as part of the project.
On arriving in Sussex for a few days walking the South Downs with Fran last Monday, before I headed into London, she broke the news that Harold, now ninety-two, had been taken into hospital the day before. All was stable and family support was in place, and Fran had very much wanted my visit to go ahead.
We talked a great deal about her Dad during my stay, and I was almost brought to tears by the sight of the most beautiful book, hand-written and bound by Harold which displayed some of his work as a gift for members of the family. As an artist, with architect's training, Harold had quickly excelled at the art of calligraphy which he took up as a hobby in his seventies, rapidly gathering in diplomas which should have taken many years to achieve.
I had never met Harold, but I learned from Fran that he was a quiet, gentle unassuming man, immensely modest about his talent and utterly thrilled when he saw that blog post and imagined others seeing and enjoying his work.
It was with much sadness that I received Fran's e mail to say that Harold had died suddenly but peacefully on Friday afternoon, and I just wanted to send Fran, her Mum and her family, our love and thoughts and to wish them gentle days ahead.