REMEMBERING NIGELNigel was born on 26th May, 1961 in Cwmbran, South Wales. He was just threewhen Arthur got a job on Teesside and with Mum, Lisa and Ian they headedNorth where Martin was born a few years later.As children, they were brought up with classics like Wind in the Willows, Winniethe Pooh and Disney’s Jungle Disney – Nigel’s incredible ability to see humantraits in animals has a direct link back to Badger, Piglet and Baloo in thesemagical tales of the natural world.Unlike the rest of us, he could assign human personalities to animals in thesimplest of pen strokes. A donkey with a raised eyebrow. A fox with an evilsmirk. A horse with a come-hither grin.The themes of Wind in the Willows run a thread through Nigel’s life. The animals’concern for the Wild Wood. Their strong bond of friendship. Mr Toad’s love ofbuttered toast.Nigel always had a vivid imagination and grew up in a world where kids could stillplay in the fields all day, building dens, lighting fires and only coming home whenit got dark. His free spirit meant he bucked against authority. He didn’t enjoylearning at school – far too many boundaries for his liking. Though he did enjoyplaying football and was often the one kicking the ball at the windows withinevitable consequences.Fearful he might run away rather than stay in school, Norma and Arthur took thebold move to send the 15-year old Nigel to art school in Harrogate 40 miles fromhome. In the days without the internet or even a phone at home, this saw aphase that took Nigel out of the family orbit for 10 years.In tales he told afterwards, we know Nigel drank his way through art school. Andthough he was busy partying, listening to punk and sometimes stealing trafficbollards, his artistic talent carried him through. At Harrogate he won aprestigious Arts Council Award to study in Germany. But he was far too busyhaving fun to attend many lectures. And on returning to England – still only 19 –he turned his back on a scholarship to St Martin’s School of Art.While he didn’t continue his studies, he stayed in student mode frequenting anotorious Australian pub in Soho, sleeping on someone’s floor. But by day, to payhis way, he was spraying weeds for the Council. And the fun was starting to fadeIn 1986 Nigel went to visit his brother Ian in Hastings one weekend and the restof his life was set. His young and restless soul found a spiritual home by the sea.He initially worked at the Hastings Observer as a graphic designer, and then atthe Hastings Trust as an illustrator, forging the close friendships that lasted wellover 20 years.When he settled in Hastings, he came back to the family, too.Even though Mum and Dad stayed in the North, then went to Australia, and thento Wales, Nigel never again missed Christmas. He developed skills as aformidable sous chef to help Mum in the kitchen and played silly Santa, startingthe tradition of giving small cheap things in unfeasibly large boxes. And amusingus all with drawings of reindeer who’d had too much sherry.Much to the chagrin of his siblings, he usually won at any game they played;always raking in the money at Monopoly. Or getting the most points at Nintendo.Or wiping away the field at tiddlywinks. Even playing marbles as young as fourhe showed the sporting prowess, strategic skills and creative flair that servedhim well in chess.In Hastings, he joined the Chess Club and played competitively, reaching theEnglish Chess Federation Grade of 185 when the average grade is 134. This iswell above the grade of County Master level. His opponents’ notes show he wasconsidered a formidable foe.His philosophical approach and an experimental attitude to risk could make himan unpredictable player. Just as his relaxed personal style and social ease couldmake it easy to underestimate his intellectual abilities.On the work front, Nigel’s life took an unexpected turn with jobs at the CastleMuseum then the Anne of Cleves Museum in Lewes that qualified him as acurator for the Hussar regimental museum at the Redoubt Fortress, Eastbourne.For the family, there was the ultimate irony that the Harvey least likely to obeyauthority was employed by the MOD. In many respects it was the making of him.Colonel Robert Crichton wrote to the family: “(Nigel) was the perfect curator;artist, draftsman and carpenter with a penchant for rolling up his sleeves andgetting on with it. He was also quite brilliant at handling the sometimes difficultpolitics at the Redoubt – always calm, considered, kind and supportive of hisfriends and colleagues.”Nigel especially loved working with the volunteers at the Redoubt. He was greatlyhumbled by the difficulties they had faced in war and loved the gibing, the jokesand the camaraderie. During his illnesses he took strength from their own trialsand experience. “Harvey” is from the old French for ‘battle-worthy’. He showedus all in these last few years how to fight illness yet not be defeated in spirit.1980s-1990s
Though Nigel has gone, he stays with us in a treasure trove of creative work. Hecertainly had natural talent. But he also spent a lifetime studying his heroes:illustrators like Mervyn Peake and Quentin Blake; masters of sea and sky likeTurner; impressionists like Monet; the watercolorist Bonington; Japanesewoodblock artists, Hiroshige, Hokkusai, Utamaro; maestros of the line drawing likePicasso.Inspired by them, Nigel didn’t have one style, but many. And he didn’t just draw,paint, design and carve. He expressed himself creatively in murals, oils,caricatures, watercolours, oils, acrylics, etchings. And he didn’t just draw. He lovedlanguage too, reading classics like Hemingway, P.G. Woodhouse and DylanThomas.But perhaps Nigel’s greatest inspiration was the natural world. He saw colour andwonder in everything. The shapes of clouds. The wind in the trees. The dewdropson cobwebs. Most of all, he was inspired by the sea. He loved the rugged coast ofCornwall. And he relished his commute on the coast train from Hastings toEastbourne. It gave him a chance every day to watch the endless shift of greens,blues, greys; to observe how the horizon could fade away in a white mist; to seethe flashes of red, gold and yellow in the sunset.Look at the natural world with Nigel’s eyes and you will see beauty every day. Andyou will be thankful for every day, just as he was.Nigel has left us many legacies. Not least are the hundreds of drawings andpaintings. And the decade’s worth of illustrated diaries that document his travelsand the daily travails and titters at the Redoubt. Few people escaped his sharp eyeand swift pen for a caricature.His other great legacy is the love and affection his family and friends hold for him.At his Funeral on December 28th two of his close friends paid tribute to him. Andthe family chose this passage to be read out. It’s an ode to friendship from AntoineSt Exupéry, one of Nigel’s favourite authors; from a book called Wind, Sand andStars:“Nothing, in truth, can ever replace a lost companion. Old comrades cannot bemanufactured. There is nothing that can equal the treasure of so many sharedmemories, so many bad times endured together, so many quarrels,reconciliations, heartfelt impulses. Friendships like that cannot be reconstructed.If you plant an oak, you will hope in vain to sit soon under its shade.For such is life. We grow rich as we plant through the early years, but thencome the years when time undoes our work and cuts down our trees. One byone our comrades deprive us of their shade, and within our mourning we alwaysfeel now the secret grief of growing old.If I search among my memories for those whose taste is lasting, if I write thebalance sheet of the moments that truly counted, I surely find those that nofortune could have bought me. You cannot buy the friendship of a companionbound to you forever by experiences shared.”Also at his Funeral, Nigel’s cousin Christine read from Dylan Thomas, another ofNigel’s favourites. The Prologue to Under Milk Wood has Nigel’s spirit woventhrough it. For not only does it evoke images of the Old Town in Hastings whereNigel painted the beach and boats for over 25 years, it is stuffed to its fishy gillswith playful language, “sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbingsea…”.2010-2016In 1994 Nigel wrote to Lisa, “I am sitting on Hastings beach again… the pages ofmy Sunday newspaper plop into the waves and swim out to sea. I have alwaysloved the sea and the beaches. Someday, when my time comes, when the sandsof my time run out, I hope to be laid to rest on a beach somewhere.”On February 4th, Nigel’s family and friends will meet to celebrate his life andwork at the Jerwood Gallery which is right there on the beach in Hastings. Bythen, we will have scattered his ashes and he will indeed be there; forever in theblue-green of waves, in the shifting clouds, and always in the cool blue of the
“The current tiered structure enables would-be administrators to gain experience at local, county, congress and possibly Union level before taking national roles within the ECF, and we note that many current and past ECF Directors and Officers have done so. We think that any change to OMOV would involve the ECF in considerable expense with little benefit and possibly considerable detriment, since it would break the linkage between the ECF and the local clubs, Chess Leagues and Chess Congresses which are the lifeblood of chess in this country. Accordingly, we recommend that the ECF should not replace Council by OMOV in any form.”
“The Directors acknowledge the concern that the existing constitutional arrangements do not adequately reflect the interests of Direct Members”
it is with much regret that I have to inform the membership of the death of John Driver
John was a member of the club for over 10 years serving on the committee and taking an active role in the library and the Friday night tournaments which were revitalise under his control
John ceased to be a member of the club some three years ago on health grounds
John was making one of his rare visits to the club on Friday night when he collapsed and died
I am sure I speak for all members when I say that he will be sadly missed and my condolences go out to Eva and her family
Marc A Bryant
We’re moved and honoured by the fact that so many people have expressed a wish to attend the funeral next Wednesday. The time of year has not proved to be impediment we thought it might.
This means that the service will begin at 4pm instead of 3pm.
I have been reminded to say something about funeral flowers.