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My friend Paul

I want to tell you briefly about my friend Paul. This is a picture of me and him (I'm the big ugly biker one on the right and he's the slim, dapper one on the left with the Santa Monica baseball cap on) on the banks of the river Ouse in Sussex. It was the tail end of last summer and we were enjoying the sunshine on the way back from a favourite pub of his when he pointed out that we didn't have any photographs of us together - hence the odd angle and the unflattering - at least for me - walrus neck; I was the one holding the camera.

He wasn't an angler, though he did share a birthday with that most auspicious of occasions, June 16th, the opening of the coarse fishing season; and that also means that he shared the same birthday as my dad. It's funny how these things come around.

Paul died on Monday the 23rd of February in the Martlets Hospice in Brighton where they'd looked after him wonderfully. He was 53 years old and it's a bloody shame.

So, June the 16th now has an extra resonance and from this year when I tackle up on the banks of a river somewhere (who knows, it may even be the Sussex Ouse) I shall sit and fish and think of my dad and my best friend.
In the next life, Paul.
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