Friday, 11 April 2014

Sue Townsend, Leicester Treasure, RIP

As a photographer I've snapped a good number of VIPs, particularly Leicester-based VIPs. Sue Townsend was one of my favourites. Over the years I took her picture many times.

Sue Townsend, centre front, with snooker pro,
Mark Selby, Joe Orton's sister, Marilyn, & Englebert
Leicester Walk of Fame, 2010. Pic by Liz Hewitt.
She was frank, funny and kind. She loved to laugh and to have a good time. She put everyone around her at ease and wasn't the least bit starry or special, although after the success of 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4', the best-selling book of the 1980s, let alone all her other books, plays and the rest, she had every right to be. She was one of the nicest of Leicester's home-grown personalities and it's sad to know I'll never snap her again.

Diabetes, blindness, arthritis, a kidney transplant and a stroke all took their toll and Sue died at her home in Leicester yesterday, 10 April, aged just 68. The past several times I saw her she was having mobility problems and in a wheelchair, but still upbeat, still funny and always ready with a joke.

Just as there was something of the everyman in Adrian Mole, there was something of everyones friend in Sue Townsend; one of Britain's funniest women and as well as Adrian Mole, the author of the hugely funny, 'The Queen and I'. With her socialist and republican leanings coupled with a strong sense of social justice, in 'The Queen and I' Sue told the story only she could have told, of the Royal Family being sent to live on a council estate. If you haven't read it, I urge you to do so :)

Sue Townsend, multi-award winning novelist, playwright, screenwriter, all-round funny lady, Leicester and national treasure, RIP.