We were sad to hear yesterday that our friend Reg passed away in hospital during the early evening. Reg was our neighbour and we used to pop across to see him regularly, helping with a few chores but also enjoying his company. Reg turned 99 this year, which means he was almost a decade older than I am now even when I was born and thus was a living repository of experienced history. Although his health deteriorated sharply this year, he kept his mental acuity; indeed, when we first met him about four years ago, he was still driving and had only just retired from over 70 years serving as a leader of the local Scout troop.
It was remarkable to think that some of the youthful escapades he described to us (such as cycling from Oxford down to London for an overnight stay with relatives and forgetting to tell his mother) took place before my parents were born. He also maintained a large number of friends from his years in the Scout movement and we were far from his only visitors.
We won’t now get to see the telegram from the Queen that he would have received if he’d survived another year but, while we feel his loss, we are grateful that we had a few years in which to get to know this venerable and kindly man.