Ann Hamilton 1931-2021

Ann Hamilton was the godmother of my wife, who heped look after her and her brother after their mother died when they were infants. I put together this tribute to her, which was printed and distributed at the requiem mass held for her at St Anthony’s church in Rye on September 27th. It brings together reflections from close friends, family and colleagues, with other material published about her. It hopes to provide a flavour of the esteem in which she was held, her impact on the lives of those she came into contact, and just as importantly how she was much loved. A short biographical sketch below has also been included about aspects of Anne’s life not covered in the reflections and other material.

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Lest We Forget: Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge

My cousin Simon (Hamish’s brother) stopped at the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge on his way back home from North Uist (outer Hebrides) in late August. He took the photographs below that includes the following plaque remembering those who died during Operation Herrick in Afghanistan, which lists my nephew Sam Alexander (see Wiki entry):

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Miss D.M. Birtwhistle Mystery

I.M. Birtwistle, 1943

The photograph above is of my aunt Iris Mary Birtwistle (aka Lilla and IM Birtwistle). She was a poet and gallery owner, who achieved notoriety – in part – for continuing to run her gallery after she had gone blind (see her wiki entry here).

I’ve shared the photograph because it is an example of how searching for one thing can yield another. And in this case that started by trying to find out more about a Miss Birtwistle mentioned in documentary about Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

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Enjoying success in later life
The Telegraph: Prince Charles: others enjoying post-65 success

My mother has been included among distinguished company in article about those who’ve achieved success in later years (see here). I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me who complained about having to pay 5 quid to listen to her perform at a poetry reading though.

Squarey Photo Collection

Veronica Mary Wright Squarey

My father’s aunt Veronica Mary Wright married Philip Squarey. I think he was joint headmaster of Sunningdale or deputy headmaster. Their 3 children David, June and Simon were my father’s only first cousins. His Kirby uncle and aunt died in WWII, and his other Wright uncle and aunt didn’t have children. I actually had no idea what David, June and Simon looked like. I had met Simon’s wife Iris before she died and her two sons. I’ve also see one of David’s daughters from time to time. She’s married to a son of a family friend, and I’ve met her brother as well. But I think that’s it as far as the Squarey family and their descendents go.

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In loving memory of Marine Sam Alexander MC

It’s taken rather a long time to post this, probably because it’s still a bit raw. But in late March I headed up to London with my family attend the unveiling of a plague on Hammersmith Bridge in memory of my nephew Sam Alexander who was killed on patrol in Afghanistan last year. The ceremony was coordinated by my sister Serena who laid the plaque with the mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham, Frances Stainton. You can read more about the ceremony in the Fulham Chronicle. In the meantime, here’s a few snaps form the event: Continue reading “In loving memory of Marine Sam Alexander MC”

Sam Alexander’s Memorial Plaque

A plaque commemorating my nephew Sam Alexander will be unveiled on Hammersmith Bridge at the end of March. It was one he and his friends jumped off on a few occasions as teenagers. From what I’ve been told this was mostly in Summer and usually after they’d been to one of the watering holes along Hammersmith’s Lower Mall, or at least once they had persuaded someone else to go on their behalf while they hung out in Furnivall Gardens. This follows the renaming of the Bridge by his friends and family last year (see Sammersmith Bridge post). The plaque includes a line from the The naughtiest angel in heaven poem written and read by my sister Serena at her son Sam’s funeral.

Angela Kirby on Magma Poetry Site

The richest events occur in us long before the soul perceives them. And, when we begin to open our eyes to the visible, we have long since committed ourselves to the invisible.

My mother’s blog entry on the Magma Poetry site starts with the above quote by Gabriele D’Annunzio, before offering advice on finding your poetic voice that’s weaved into the kind of ‘hoke’ she describes below: Continue reading “Angela Kirby on Magma Poetry Site”