A Word In Your Ear - June 1, 2017

Roy Edmonds
Roy Edmonds
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The months - and years - flash by but this week was poignant. It began with my birthday but also included a funeral.

On Tuesday we paid respects to Mike Foster, former Gazette chief photographer, and past colleagues and friends gathered in Great Marton.

There have been other colleagues’ funerals, but this was the first of our generation. The others had been veterans who’d shown us the professional ropes and varied charms of Blackpool and our holiday coast.

If you’re all of similar age you can look back on shared good times, when old age was something which happened to others and you felt invincible. Then, suddenly, a contemporary’s passing feels uncomfortably close.

It inspires much savouring of the past but, more importantly, makes you appreciate what and who matters most now.

Mike was of the old school in a way; a tough, no-nonsense newsman; hard living and drinking, calling a spade a spade . . .

Or was he? My mind went back to a winter’s evening not long after we’d begun working together at the Gazette’s Victoria Street offices.

Mike had invited me and a couple of girls from the office (in fact, in his mind, the invitation priorities would have been the other way round) for a glass or two of wine and some supper.

He was living just off Church Street in Blackpool and had set up a cosy dining setting. He also proved to be a good and sophisticated chef, as well as a generous host. Later we were shown some of his off-duty pictures, including showbiz celebrities but all very evocative and creative images.

However, what struck me most that evening was his gentleness and thoughtfulness to ourselves and others. This was the softer heart his hard exterior contrived to hide and shield.

Perhaps, before time passes too far, we should all reveal our secret and better selves.

• For Roy’s books visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com.