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Goodbye, Alison

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Alison RichardsAnother week, another loss. This time, a little closer to home – Alison Richards, founder of The Pier, raiser of millions for Unicef and part of my extended family, passed away on Sunday (click the link on that page for the full story). I’ll never forget her friendly manner and self-effacing style whenever I met her, which was always a surprise as she must have been as “hard as nails” – as one ex-colleague put it – underneath it all to get where she was in the retail industry – as the article says, she was “one of the best-known and most successful female leaders in retail.” I’ll also never forget her 50th birthday party in Vinopolis – an extravagant affair if ever there was one where people like her friend Dave Richards, owner of former Formula 1 outfit B.A.R., rocked up for a few drinks.
Even if I didn’t see you much after I left The Pier – you’re a bright light extinguished, Alison.
Update: Alison’s London Memorial details here.

Mum’s 25 again…

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Happy Birthday to my favourite mum (out of all the mum’s I’ve had),  who notches up another year today. Her customary last-minute decision-making means that I’m not seeing her until tomorrow, which gives me more time to buy copious presents…

The Father and the Pride

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Hearty congratulations to my dad, who managed another win in the elections as a councillor for the Petersfield St. Mary’s ward, taking 66% of the vote. They obviously know a good thing when they see it… 😉

Nicholas de Stacpoole

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I’d grown bored of virus questions. I’d tired of fixing the catalogue database, and plugging and unplugging network cables. I wanted a change. I wanted a challenge. I wanted to talk to a random call centre customer.
So, I answered the next call. I listened intently to his query, and politely asked him his name. “Nicholas de Stacpoole”.
Now, my surname isn’t common. Far from it. We had a book commissioned that was devoted to finding all the Stacpoole names it could. And I feel sure Nicholas de Stacpoole wasn’t on it. 20 minutes later, we were still chatting – he was a bit-part actor, had recently been on television, and was moving to Chelsea. He has three sisters, Virginia, Auriol and someone else. Here’s his particulars.
What are the chances of randomly picking up the phone and ending up talking to a distant relative I’ve never met, from a family that is sparse at best? Well, I was chuffed. Especially when it was hot on the heels of an email from another unknown relative, with EXACTLY the same first name and surname. We must be the only two in the world…
It was probably the last I’ll hear of them, of course.

Michael Stacpoole

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So there I was last night, watching a documentary on the “disgraced peer” Jeffrey Archer, when up popped his former friend Michael Stacpoole, who helped lie at his trial and give his various prostitutes a pay off. Cue lots of phoning, emailing and calls across the office today confirming that he is indeed related to me, and that he now manages to maintain a healthy chain of “gentleman’s clubs”. All a bit embarrassing really.
I DID, however, enjoy having my surname splashed across the screen…