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Last Word
Listen to the latest editionFriday   16:00-16:30
Sunday 20:30-21:00 (rpt)

Radio 4's weekly obituaries programme
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This week
Friday 4th April 2008
(Rpt) Sunday 6th April
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently: Angus Fairhurst, Eirlys Roberts, Dith Pran and JNP Watson
Angus Fairhurst
Artist who has died aged 41

Angus Fairhurst was a key member of the close knit group of Young British Artists which revolutionised the art scene in the 1980s and 90s and also included Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Gary Hume. His friends were deeply shocked to learn that Angus had been found dead near Bridge of Orchy in the Scottish Highlands. He is believed to have taken his own life.

Angus Fairhurst was born in Kent and attended Canterbury College of Art before going on to Goldsmiths College in London where he first met Hirst and Lucas. He participated in the Freeze exhibition in London’s Docklands which helped to launch the group into the public consciousness. Work by Angus Fairhurst then appeared in all the major Britart shows of the last twenty years, including “Sensation” at the Royal Academy and “In A Gadda Da Vida” at Tate Britain.

Matthew Bannister speaks to Michael Craig-Martin, who taught Angus Fairhurst at Goldsmiths College.

Angus Fairhurst was born October 4th 1966 and died March 29th 2008.
Eirlys Roberts
Editor of Which? Magazine who has died aged 97

Eirlys Roberts was a consumer champion. Between 1957 and 1973 she was the longest serving editor of Which? magazine and laid down the principles on which it is still run today. She later became Chief Executive of the Bureau of European Consumer Organisations.

Eirlys Roberts was born at Caerphilly in Wales and educated at Clapham High School and Girton College Cambridge where she read classics. During the Second World War she served in military intelligence before working for the United Nations on relief and rehabilitation in Albania. It was whilst working as a civil servant at the Treasury that Eirlys began writing consumer articles.

Matthew Bannister speaks to Rosemary McRobert who worked at Which? and was a friend of Eirlys’ for more than fifty years, Paul Ryan who works at the magazine now and Lydia Howard, Eirlys Roberts’ goddaughter.

Eirlys Roberts was born January 3rd 1911 and died March 18th 2008.
Dith Pran
Photojournalist who has died aged 65

The extraordinary story of the Cambodian translator and photojournalist Dith Pran is known to millions around the world thanks to the Oscar winning film The Killing Fields.  The movie told the story of Pran’s friendship with the New York Times journalist Sydney Schanberg and his survival during the reign of the Khmer Rouge when millions of his countrymen were slaughtered. 

Matthew Bannister speaks to Dith Pran’s second wife Kim DePaul, who continues to run the Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Project and Bruce Robinson who wrote the screenplay for film The Killing Fields.

Dith Pran was born September 27th 1942 and died March 30th 2008.
Major JNP Watson
Cavalry Officer and Hunting Correspondent

Major JNP – Johnnie – Watson was the hunting correspondent of Country Life Magazine and the Polo correspondent of the Times. At one time he held the world record for hunting with the most packs of hounds – a staggering figure of 265 in the US, the UK, continental Europe and Ireland.

Johnnie Watson was born in West Sussex. He was only 12 when his father was killed whilst serving with the army in Belgium just before the retreat to Dunkirk. But young Johnnie had already inherited his father’s passion for country sports. At Eton, he enjoyed beagling and when he left school in 1945 he joined the Rifle Brigade. Following his love of horses he secured a transfer to the Household Cavalry, where officers were expected regularly to go hunting during the winter months. Invalided out of the army in 1968 because of hearing loss caused by exposure to gunfire, Major Watson was a natural to be hunting correspondent of Country Life.

Matthew Bannister speaks to Country Life Deputy Editor, Rupert Uloth and author Jilly Cooper who, when writing her novel “Polo”, took advice from Major Watson.

Major JNP Watson was born June 18th 1927 and died February 22nd 2008.
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