With your departure, not only has your dear family lost your big and much loved presence, but the world has lost a genuinely lovely person. I know that you won’t mind for one moment the way I’ve just described you, because you had a wonderful sense of humour and a very special talent. You were one of the most honest and generous people I have ever met in my life, generous with your time, your loving care and your heart.
You were that ray of sunshine in my life, when we worked together for a while back in the late 1970s/early 1980s. You had no idea how special you were to me then, because I was a beginner, with much to learn about the way our world works, and I don’t think I ever told you. But I think you probably knew, just by your sparkle, your smile. You taught me more than I ever thanked you for then.
It was only later, many years after our lives went their separate and very different ways, that I discovered that we had grown up in the same part of the world, went to the same school (same but different – and I know you will understand what I mean by that!), and then went through many personal experiences that were so closely connected. Again, same but different. Neither you nor I knew it then, though, when we shared a few years of our working lives.
That’s all for now, Claire. I will remember forever the many special times you were kind enough to share with me, and with many others.
You made a special difference to my life, and for that I will always thank you.
PS. Don’t worry, Claire – we’ll be watching what David Cameron is up to with your beloved NHS. And if he screws it up, we’ll be on the case!