Thursday, 16 April 2009

RIP Sir Clement Freud

Sad news this morning of the death of Sir Clement Freud at the age of 84. I'm sure many more fulsome and amusing tributes will be paid to the great man but he was genuinely one of those people who became a national institution.

For some, he will have been a regular voice on Radio 4's "Just A Minute" along with Kenneth Williams. For others, his lugubrious voice will be forever associated with "Henry" and dogfood commercials.

He was a great lover of horse racing, visiting many tracks. I saw him one day at Windsor and I spotted him at Sandown as well a few years ago. He owned some decent horses including the wonderfully-named Weareagrandmother as a tribute to Margaret Thatcher's famous comment.

He wrote regularly for the Racing Post, a weekly Saturday column tailed with a great joke or story and frequently commenting on the standard of racing and raceday hospitality as it became more difficult for him to go to the races in later life.

He was an intrepid gambler and famously backed himself to win the Isle of Ely by-election in 1973 at 50/1. He won of course and served for 14 years as Liberal MP for that beautiful part of rural Cambridgeshire. He was loyal to the party though more in the tradition of maverick Liberal MPs of old and unfortunately the type of figure that is too rare in the modern era.

All these threads were wown together in the tapestry of the life of Sir Clement Freud.

You will be sorely missed.

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