What sort of person was Paul? Having read the many tributes to him, the word that comes up most is 'gentle'. He was supremely 'non-macho' and took delight in being unconventional. He was brilliantly clever with an impish sense of humour. Although shy, his kindness and good nature meant that he was held in great affection by everyone.
After years of taking a quiet pleasure in being 'Big Brother' to Robin & Julia, Paul found himself ensnared at an early age into the role of 'Husband'. This was not an easy transition. Every household task had first to be defined as either 'cooking' or 'gardening' in order to allocate it correctly - and so, in 33 years together, I never cooked a meal.
Paul liked food: he liked eating it and he liked creating it. In particular he liked making jam and marmalade (and wine) out of anything he could think of and over the years he developed a knack for finding sources of 'free range' fruit.
Paul collected cookery books - not that he ever used them. He loved reading about food - in fact he loved reading about anything. He had an entire room full of books (often with eye-catching titles) on every subject you could imagine and always had at least a couple on the go. It could be argued that each house move was at least partly prompted by a need to accommodate his ever-growing library.
But Paul's greatest passion was for music and this provided the framework for his life. The highlights of his school days centred around his time spent in the 'music block' while his early experiences of singing in the local Choral Society led him to continue singing throughout his life - and indeed, he directed the DfEE choir in London for many years.
However, it was the recorder that took centre stage in his life. He was a very talented player and was never happier than when he was taking part in one of a number of ensembles. From the time he acquired Tiddles (his car) just 6 years ago, he would drive all over the country to play and meet up with friends.
In addition to performing, Paul was also a prolific composer and arranger - mostly for the recorder and, thanks to the availability of a 'tame' music publisher, his music is known and enjoyed throughout the recorder world. He was delighted to be commissioned to write the opening work for the National Festival of the Society of Recorder Players when it was held in Lincoln in 2016.
Later in 2016 he had a cough which lasted for months but he didn't bother the doctor because it was 'only a cough'. Early in 2017 the problems started; first his vision and then his speech were affected. Soon he couldn't remember things and had trouble with understanding. Eventually he agreed to see a doctor and a few weeks later was sent for a brain scan. On 27th March he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer that had spread to the brain.
Over the coming months he received palliative treatment (radiotherapy and chemotherapy) until there was nothing more they could do and on 22nd December he was admitted to Beaumond House. During his time there he (and I) received the very best of care from a whole team of angels until his death on 15th January. Now I want to say "thank you" by raising money to allow Beaumond House to continue to provide care where it is needed.
In Loving Memory of Paul Richards
(10th June 1962 - 15th January 2018)