December 2019



It is with the most profound sorrow that we inform you that our father died in the early hours
of this morning (18.10.19) in Thessaloniki, Greece. He contracted septicemia on the second
leg of his sailing trip a week ago while on Lesvos. Despite the efforts of his doctors and his
phenomenal will to recover and come home it became apparent that his body was embattled
on many fronts. After being transferred yesterday to Thessaloniki for plasma treatment he
finally submitted to heart failure due to respiratory problems.
He was extremely brave throughout and this courage combined with his determination to
take on life on his own terms will continue to inspire (and frustrate) us.  We are currently
working on his repatriation and will let you know soon when and where you are invited to
join us to celebrate his life.
Please pass this on to anyone who would want to know because we haven't sorted out dad's
family and friends data base yet but feel we should just get this news out.

Jess, Matt, Barny, Tom


Really sorry to hear this news. Richard was a one-of-a-kind personality, someone you could
get drunk with (and did, on numerous apres occasions), have discussions with at any level -
from who has the best body on the Hash, to the nuances of DGIII open-market policy-making,
go sailing with - the Old Buffers Cruise, from South Holland to Copenhagen being the last one
I was involved in, or just generally hang out with.
A generous man, who gave freely of his time and resources, he will be missed in many circles.
After I moved to London in the early nineties, Mary and I visited his house in Highgate on several
occasions and never failed to have a good time there.
Alas, time and distance will prevent me from attending his final On In, but I will be with you all in spirit.
Best regards to all of you,


Dear Hashers,
Very sad to hear this, I had him over the phone 2 weeks ago, he was spending a great time
on Tai Luk with my brother Sebastian.
We have very nice memories of several walks and deep conversations with Richard. Such a nice man!
All our condolences to his family and friends.
He will always be remembered.
Emily & Mathieu Vrancken


Very shocked to hear about Richard,  one of the very first people we met on
our arrival in Overijse in 1995 when we joined the Hash.   Please send our
condolences to his family and friends.  A great character and another
regular hasher who has influenced our happy times in Belgium.    He was
enjoying his life to the end despite health issues.
On on, he will now be hashing with Bertie.......    Alma and David.


I’ll miss him - the chuckle, the erudition, the democratic warmth,
the positivity.



Richard Wainwright: New York marathon memories from Rory Watson
It was thanks to Richard that I was able to run the New York marathon with him on 23 October 1983 – a highly enjoyable experience with many excellent memories.
Richard had started hashing a year or two earlier. One day in early summer he told me that the swimming coach at Château St Anne, where Richard was a member, had ten places for that autumn’s New York marathon. Would I be interested? Of course, I was. The only stipulation was that we had to raise money for charity.
Richard and I trained with other members of the group on Saturday mornings for three to four months, he and I regularly running together at a pace that suited us both, and would then do the hash in the afternoon. We travelled together on El Al (the cheapest transatlantic airline from Brussels at the time) a few days before the big event. Richard stayed with Michael Hardy, the European Commission’s representative to the United Nations and I with friend and Commission official, Ann Polya.
The day before the marathon, we participated in the symbolic run for overseas participants from the UN headquarters to the Tavern on the Green in Central Park where we were all given a free breakfast.
On the morning itself, we found ourselves lining up on the Verrazano Narrows bridge with the female runners and first-time male participants. It was a lucky break because although it was Richard’s first marathon, it was my fourth. We were fairly close to the front of the group and were over the start line and into our stride within seconds – an important consideration in the days of no chips and when your time began when the gun went off.
We ran together over the scenic route for about 22 to 23 miles without any major discomfort. Seeing that Richard was going well, I said that I was going to up my pace a bit. He had no problem with me running on ahead. In the end, Richard finished two and a half minutes behind me in a time of 2.59.30 – an excellent performance for a first time marathon by someone who was ten years older than me. He ran 6.51 mile pace, was placed 1,504 out of 14,445 finishers, 1,428/12,245 males and 163/2,201 in his age group (40 – 44 years).
I recently came across an article I wrote, and had forgotten, about the 1983 NY marathon for the Commission magazine, Europe, in the US. I described how the event helps to involve New Yorkers:
“A British friend in love with the city says: ‘It unites people and for a day or so banishes the normal feeling of apprehension and suspicion between strangers. Because they have something in common, people are not afraid to talk to each other.’ This prompts unexpected acts of generosity, making the marathon all the more memorable, particularly when experienced during one of the toughest parts of the day: getting home after the race when no cab or bus is to be seen.
“One British friend, hearing English accents, begged the occupants of the car for a lift and was promptly driven home by the British consul to New York. Another hailed a cab already occupied. The passenger promptly got out and yielded her place.”
I can’t remember which one, but Richard was definitely the central character in one of those events.
His readiness to engage with total strangers also brought the occasional rebuff. The El Al stewardess stonily rejected his attempt to engage in conversation as we took off from Brussels, so did the tanned, super fit women anxiously waiting at the start line for the gun to go off. Richard took it all in his stride.

Before the hash, Lyn, Julian and two of Richard’s sons, Matthew and Barny, held an informal event from midday to give those who had been unable to attend the service of thanksgiving in St Michael’s Church, Highgate on 29 November, the opportunity to celebrate Richard’s life.
At least 60 people attended, including a score of Richard’s Commission colleagues, a similar number of hashers, most in running gear, and many Brussels-based friends from music groups to neighbours. The relaxed surroundings and generous food and drink created an atmosphere where people shared their memories and appreciation of Richard’s many talents and contributions to our lives (running a hash later was distinctly challenging).
Lyn welcomed everyone and pointed out how important London’s Highgate, where they had built a house and lived for three years from 1970, was to Richard. It was to where he returned when he left Brussels after spending almost 30 years in Boitsfort, which, with its village atmosphere, is in many ways Brussels’ version of Highgate.
Richard Lyal, one of Richard’s colleagues from the Commission Legal Service, recalled the notable contributions he had made in the development of European fisheries, environmental, internal market and competition law since his arrival in 1973. It later emerged that the interview panel thought he was the only Brit they interviewed who “seemed to know anything”. RL paid tribute to RW’s ability to successfully lead, enthuse and manage a team well before management gurus and theories arrived. He liked to use the phrase “Well Done”. Depending on the tone, this ranged from a form of genuine praise to a polite way to silence a voluble colleague.
John Robinson described Richard in one word: “indomitable”. They had first met in the early 1970s, but it was over the last 15 years that they had really got to know each other in their biannual hikes in the Lake District with their friend Bob Hull. Richard was always up for a challenge, whether it was traversing an exceedingly tricky precipitous rock face when he was 78 or climbing a 1,743 metre “ultra-prominent” mountain in Greece last year just weeks before his death. As John put it: Richard had a permanent suspension of belief in his own mortality.
(The text of John’s appreciation is attached to this Hash write-up and will be posted on the Hash web site).
Hugh Dow gave an insight into Richard’s positive approach to life. Does it get to you when things go badly, he asked? “I don’t let it,” Richard replied. He reminded us of Richard’s democratic approach to life. He was happy to give the same cheerful geniality to everyone irrespective of their status or social skills.
Robert Adams, a friend from prep school whose path later crossed with Richard and Lyn’s in Brussels, described the hospitality, friendship and support he had enjoyed from Richard’s family over many years. He also revealed a little known weakness in Richard’s armoury of achievements: he was not very good at golf.

Richard Wainwright – A personal memory

I first met Richard in Brussels in the early 70s. But over the last 15 years, it was on bi-annual hikes with our friend Bob Hull in my native Lakes that I really got to know him.
Indomitable was the word for Richard. Was and, despite his too early departure, still is.
On the fells, there was something eternal about his remorseless rhythmic progress up the slopes. Seemingly without breaking stride, whatever the gradient, and notwithstanding the passage of time.
In Langdale last year, age 78, he tagged on to a party of passing climbers and scrambled his way up Jack’s Rake, a tricky upward traverse across the precipitous face of Pavey Ark, a Mecca for rock-climbers. But testing and nerve-wracking for your average hiker. Thankfully, for diary reasons, this was the one Lakes trip I missed. A lucky escape.
Thinking about Richard’s approach to life, ‘suspension of disbelief’ is a phrase that comes to mind. Coleridge, the Lakes poet who coined it, was referring to the temporary faith the poet needed to instil in his reader so that he would believe whatever unlikely story the poet spun.
With Richard, it was his life that was his story. But apparently, as he told it to himself, there was nothing temporary about his faith in its going on for ever. As if, to put it the other way round, he had a permanent suspension of belief in his own mortality.
Last June, midsummer’s day as it happened, he dropped me off at Manchester airport from our latest hike together with Bob. It was the last time I saw him.
But not our last contact. This came in an email sent out of the blue from his boat moored off a Greek island, just a couple of weeks before finally hanging up his boots.
“Dear John”, he wrote. “Tai-Luk delayed in port for a day. So climbed Mt Dhirfi, 1743m.”
“Hot dog Richard!” I replied. “Did you know Dhirfi is classed an ‘ultra-prominent’ mountain?”
Prolonged radio silence ensued. Richard was clearly pondering this claim from a legal standpoint.
The next day he mailed his considered verdict, “It was certainly prominent”.
So too is his memory.

John Robinson, November 2019

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