A man I loved very much has died. His name is Lester and he is responsible for the beautiful tattoos on my body.
We separated about 10 years ago and he found new and enduring love with Sarah Boyes, seeming happier and more invigorated with his life than ever before. He finally found the way to his art practice and had just completed a three-year fine art degree at Brighton University. He was a father to Annis Laidlaw and grandfather to her son Rowan. He was a good and true and lovely person; handsome and stylish, flawed and fallible, kind and funny. He was always engaged with trying to understand his life underpinned by a grappling with the legacy of the early death of his father.
He was a key figure in Brighton, beautifully, generously and ethically tattooing so many people either as a freelancer or when running Temple Tatu in Boyces Street or working at Holy Cow in Eastbourne. There are so many of us who have his work and legacy on our bodies.
He wore his beliefs (and his heart) on his sleeve and lived a life that honoured them, he believed in cooperative living and had little interest in money or time-keeping.
A great polymath who knew lots about lots of things with a fierce and political intelligence that wouldn't be obvious on first meeting but, like many of his qualities, would gradually reveal itself. He had an artists' eye and ear and an ability to unearth eccentric, forgotten or ignored musical treasures.
The reason for his untimely and unexpected death is unknown at the moment and I am praying and hoping that he died easily, without pain or anguish. Death is so very hard but harder when it comes unexpectedly and with such stealth; provoking thoughts of all that was and all that might have been, lost opportunities and precious memories
It is a terrible terrible loss deeply felt. My thoughts are with Sarah and Annis, his sister Karen, his mother and all those who loved him.