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News > Alumni News > Richard Bradford: A Valediction

Richard Bradford: A Valediction

A written contribution from alumnus Les Gibbings following the recent passing of Old Owenian Richard Bradford.
23 Feb 2023
Written by Les Gibbings
Alumni News
Richard William Bradford - 8th October 1953 - 14th January 2023
Richard William Bradford - 8th October 1953 - 14th January 2023

Written by Les Gibbings (class of '71)

It was something of a shock to get a text from Vince Sartori that Old Owenian and Bishop’s Stortford FC 1980s Cup hero, Richard Bradford, had been admitted to hospital and was in an induced coma in an ICU ward. It was a big shock to me as I had been in my usual contact with him on WhatsApp at the end of 2022 and then early in the New Year which at that time included a nine text exchange on 3rd January about a cd album cover of our favourite US Band from our school days, Spirit. Earlier we had discussed his plans for the ‘holidays’, the deaths of footballers, Pele and George Cohen, his suggestions of TV programmes to watch (in this case the George Harrison film by Scorsese – Like me, Richard was also a big Beatles fan) and Arsenal targets in the January ‘transfer window’.  The shock turned to utter disbelief when, again third hand, Vince told me he had passed away on 14th January despite briefly awakening beforehand. Richard was just 69 years old.

It’s not for me to dare to write Richard’s obituary or eulogise about his personal merits and life achievements here, I just wasn’t that close to him – that’s for his family and others who can claim to have been closer. But the fact is I wanted to record a valediction in Richard’s memory to celebrate our occasional meetings and regular contact for exchanging views, thoughts and ideas by email and text which had gone on at least since he was working in Harrow in 2013. We both made quips and comments on all manner of things, including chat about our families [we were both fathers and grandfathers after all], I even sent him cds occasionally of rare Spirit music which I think pleased him. As Richard was himself linked in to some obscure Spirit/Randy California chat rooms, Vince and I would often find with surprise obtuse articles in our Inbox from him that he had discovered and wanted to share with us about the band.

Both Vince and I separately sent texts to his phone once we knew he was ill in anticipation of him reading them when he recovered. But that never happened of course. As a gesture of our solidarity, we both simultaneously played Richard’s favourite Spirit track to his memory the day after he passed away. We both thought he would have liked that.

We will miss him and especially his ‘sardonic[us]’ humour.

Adieu, Richard.


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