Thursday, March 25, 2010

A great lady dies

Errm, no, not Lady Thatcher but another great lady, Daphne Park, known more recently as Baroness Park of Monmouth. She died yesterday at the age of 88 after various ailments but it is still distressing to think that she will not be conducting any more of her battles on defence or Zimbabwe or Northern Ireland.

Lives do not come any more exciting than hers did, what with working with SOE agents during the war and reporting back to the Foreign Office (or whoever) from Moscow in the fifties, Congo in the sixties, Hanoi during the Vietnam war and so on. Some of her stories were a delight and many of us tried to persuade her that she should write them down or dictate them to some willing amanuensis. She was sort of thinking about it but I am not sure how far that got.

Let me add that Daphne Park was not just a thoroughly admirable lady but a great friend. I tried to visit her every time I went to Oxford and each visit, when one was plied with coffee, biscuits and a drink before leaving, was a delight - full of stories and discussions. The last time I saw her was just before Christmas when she sat in a room in the Royal Airforce Club, surrounded by friends and admirers and told us about her time in the Soviet Union and Vietnam.

We shall not see her like again. (And I may well write another obituary later on.)

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