Tag Archives: willie goodhart

Willie Goodhart’s son writes about his father’s Dementia

When Willie Goodhart died in January, in our tribute post, we put in a link to a wonderful piece written by his son Benjie during the 2010 election.

In it, he talked about what it was like growing up in a very political household.

It is one of those pieces that enrich your life.

Benjie has done it again with a beautiful article, written with so much love, about the progress of his father’s Dementia. It first became clear that something was wrong during a Today programme interview.

For us – my sisters, my mother and me – the door closing on Dad’s career marked the beginning of a new era: one that was by turns agonising, baffling, heartbreaking and, I must confess, comedic. Alzheimer’s affects everyone differently, including those around them – but the ability to laugh at its quirks and peculiarities sustained us all in the darkest times.

For almost 50 years of married life, Dad got up in the morning and brought Mum a cup of tea in bed. This came to a rather abrupt halt the morning her cup of tea consisted of orange juice, milk, and some potted shrimps all stirred together. My mother demurred, though Dad consumed his with alacrity and chided her for being fussy. At times like that, it is easier to laugh than to cry.

On another occasion, two years ago, Dad took me and my wife to the opera. An opera devotee, it was his last visit: as the lights went down for act three of a rather lengthy German comic opera, he called out in despair, “Oh God.” A few minutes later, he heckled (I suspect a first for the rarefied audience): “Get on with it!” My wife and I, being of reasonably sound mind, were inclined to agree. That was also the evening Dad looked at his diary, which he did every five minutes, for reassurance, and read “To opera with Benjie.” Then he looked up at me. “Are you Benjie?”

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Tributes paid to Willie Goodhart

It’s sad to hear that Willie Goodhart, founder member of the SDP, retired peer and co-author of the Liberal Democrat constitution, has passed away.

Tim Farron paid tribute to Willie:

Willie Goodhart was a founding member of the SDP and stalwart of the Liberal Democrats. He believed passionately in social democracy, human rights and the rule of law. In writing our party’s constitution, he has left a lasting legacy that will be cherished by party members for decades to come.

I send my heartfelt sympathy to his wife Celia and his children Frances, Laura and Benjamin.

Lords Leader Dick Newby said:

Willie will be very sadly missed by friends and colleagues in the Lords. He was a doughty campaigner for human rights, for Europe, and for a fairer society, issues which he promoted tirelessly in the Lords.

He played a vital role in establishing the SDP and in its subsequent merger with the Liberal Party. He won the respect of all those with whom he worked and he will be remembered with great fondness.

Posted in News | 12 Comments
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