The Oldie

Memorial Service: Richard Lindley James Hughes-onslow


Michael Palin led tributes to war reporter and Panorama journalist Richard Lindley at his funeral in St Martin-in-the-fields.

‘I was an admirer of Richard’s long before he came to live in Oak Village in north London in 1984,’ said Palin. ‘When he became our neighbour and friend in a close-knit community in NW5, we thought he was a bit of a catch.

‘He became chairman of the residents’ associatio­n with an amazing attention to detail. He was always ready to give his time for battles that few of us could have the stomach for. He had the most withering politeness in dealing with the council.

‘ “The council has assured me there will be no eruption of sewage during our street party,” Richard once said. He managed to persuade Prince Charles to attend an event for local almshouses. Few people I know have done so much and asked for so little in return.’

Former TV producer and radio presenter Roger Bolton said he was the most humble of men. He once apologised to all those he had failed to mention in his history of Panorama – and to all those he had included.

‘Then his wife Carole Stone came along and his life was transforme­d with her parties, the glue that kept so many people together,’ Bolton said, ‘He was a great reporter and a great man.’

Carole, producer of Radio 4’s Any Questions, is known for her soirées and books about networking. During her address she wore the plastic surgical boot she was given when they were both hit by a lorry in Covent Garden a few weeks earlier. She recalled first telling Jonathan Dimbleby, chairman of Any Questions, 31 years ago, that she was dating Lindley. ‘But he’s a proper person,’ said Dimbleby.

Michael Grade once told her that it’s wonderful to be loved but more wonderful to love. She read a moving letter Richard wrote to her on the day before their wedding, for her to read after his death. She had opened it the night before his funeral.

‘I love you very much, my darling Carole. I did not deserve you. I have been so very lucky to find you. I don’t believe even death will separate us for ever. I cannot believe this universe we inhabit is a thing of chance. I hope that we will be together again one day when I can laugh with you and love you as I do now.’

In his sermon, the Rev Dr Sam Wells said there used to be a profession called journalism, adding, ‘One person who spoke the truth was Richard Lindley.’

Later, at the Reform Club wake, Andrew Marr made a speech in which he proclaimed, ‘Journalism was not a profession. It was a trade.’ JAMES HUGHES-ONSLOW

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