Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Duncan - remembered with a smile

It was a given among Duncan’s friends that you could drop him into any café, anywhere in the world, and within 20 minutes he would know the barman’s life story and be treated like a local. Both gregarious and compassionate, he made friends effortlessly. But Duncan was also a very private and independent man, with many facets to his character. Conversations could leap from the musical he had written to the fortunes of his beloved Nottingham Forest with genuine interest in what others were doing in-between.

Writer, historian and travel guide, Duncan was a troubadour of our time. Always creating, exploring, enthusiastic, he was both interesting and interested. Even at the end. At his book launch, barely a month ago, he still had time for others. One minute charming the actress Susannah York (who had read extracts from his book), the next making sure the nurse who accompanied him had a drink and was enjoying herself.

I hope it’s some comfort to his family and friends to know that around the world, there are hundreds like me who are thinking of Duncan Shiels. And always with a smile.

Martyn Bignold


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