Paula, his beloved wife, read a tribute which included touching accounts of their life together. Here is an edited extract.
“Today is also Remembrance Day for a most special individual, Richard. The first time I met him I was struck by how grounded and comfortable he was in his own skin. He did everything with such calm, but with real purpose. He certainly didn’t prescribe to the ‘norm’, but I loved being surrounded by his ironic wit, intelligence and willingness for another adventure. He encouraged me when my confidence was lacking, we laughed a lot, and we just had a ball. He found joy in the simplest things like gardening, hats, sandals, the seasons, sport, food, animals, fresh air – and a bit of cricket. He was the most prolific and wonderful letter writer, even in this digital age. But he got to grips with email, even though he loved his pen the best. Richard wrote for The Whistler community newsletter for the West Hill area in Brighton and found time every other month to post around 3500 through the doors on his beat. It was the Sussex Food and Drink Guide that spotted his expert culinary prowess and chose Richard to be one of their restaurant reviewers, with me across the other side of the table. I’d edit and do the typing – and enjoy the food, but wasn’t so enamoured when Rich wrote, “my expanding partner” in one of his pieces. He also wrote match reports for his beloved Brighton & Hove Crescent Cricket Club, of which he was a member since 1979.
“Richard was selfless, courteous, charitable, kind, truly loyal to everyone, fun, humorous, witty and generous with his time, to people and with money, which was the least important thing in his life. He was an amazing cook and any kitchen was his domain. He created an abundance of smells, colour and vibrancy with his passion and enthusiasm for food, the garden, life. He crafted loveliness out of raw materials and the need to share, and there was always enough for everyone. He loved shopping for real, good, fresh foods and conjured up delicious meals. Everyday there was a meal on the table, I was transported to another place. Monday I was in Seville, Tuesday I was in Morocco, and by Friday we usually ended up in Thailand with the legendary Stir Friday. He wasn’t a planner but his next two meals were always in the bag.
“Rich retired about a month after we got together, so he could pursue more of his loathsome cricket, golf, badminton, bridge, book club and Spanish classes. But he squeezed all these in between his training to become an advisor for the local Citizens Advice Bureau because they’d helped him in the past. His trusty pen took a few days off while he became computer literate. He could be heard kicking and screaming with all his new technology. After all, he’d shunned a washing machine his whole life, preferring to use his unique, 4-bucket system. He told me he did not want to lose his Indian name, “man who washes with buckets”. Well, the 4 bucket system was transported from Centurion Road to Shirley Street when he moved in with me, but was quickly recycled into floristry buckets for my new career change.
Even though the last year and a half has been extremely difficult and the ending not quite part of our script, I wouldn’t have swapped it for the world. My life is so enriched by Richard and I guess we know what that word really means now. Everyone here has been enriched one way or another by Mr Ford.”
Richard’s Secret Recipe
Using one bucket from the Richard Ford
Add a large amount of generosity.
Spoon in plenty of kindness.
Pour in lashings of enthusiasm.
Blend in a twist of reliability.
Introduce some dignity.
Grate in lots of selflessness.
Go heavy with the understated humour.
Pep it up with a bit of community spirit.
Gently stir all the ingredients together.
Remove any unwanted ego and vanity and serve immediately with a smile, to everyone in your life.
Repeat recipe every day.
Share it with your friends and family, and we will all dine well at life’s great table.