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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 25th August 2006
(rpt) Sunday 27th August 2006
Jane Little
Jane Little tells the life stories of people who have died recently. This week: Bismillah Khan, Roger Deakin, Peter Copeland and Sandra Blow.
Bismillah Khan 
Shehnai player who has died aged 90.

Bismillah Khan was regarded as an ustaad or musical genius. He was a Shia Muslim and faced some opposition from Islamic scholars who said his music was forbidden or haraam. He replied "If music is haraam then why has it reached such heights?". Bismillah Khan's international career got off to a late start because of a fear of flying. But the Indian government eventually cajoled him into appearing at the Edinburgh Festival in the nineteen sixties - the deal was that it paid for a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina on the way. When his death was announced on Monday, the Indian government called a day of national mourning and accorded him a state funeral.

Indian correspondent, Mark Tully, who chose Bismillah Khan as one of his Desert Island Discs and fellow classical music star Amjad Ali Khan pay tribute to Bismillah Khan.
Bismillah Khan was born in 1916. He died on August 21st 2006.
Roger Deakin
Writer and conservationist who has died aged 63.

Roger Deakin was a man of many passions - writer, broadcaster, and conservationist. He left London and a career in advertising for the rural delights of Suffolk and from there wrote widely on the environment, a subject close to his heart. He campaigned for many things including the right to roam and the right to swim freely in England's rivers.

In 1999 he published 'Waterlog' - an account of his aquatic tour of Britain. and he made a series of documentaries for Radio Four on his life, his garden and his home. 
Jane Little talks to his close friends the writers Terence Blacker and Robert MacFarlane.

Roger Deakin was born on February 11th 1943. He died on August 19th 2006. 
Peter Copeland
Sound engineer who has died aged 64.

Peter Copeland was given a gramophone player when he was five. He used to sit for hours playing records in the garden shed at home in Gosport. Later, after a teacher spotted his passion for sound recording and collecting, he recommended that he leave school and go to work at the BBC. That led him on to become Head of Sound Conservation at the National Sound Archive. It was was here that he dedicated long days and nights to rescuing and preserving sound for the nation - including this archive of Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia Trial in 1964.

Interviews with Peter Copeland, Nigel Bewley, from the National Sound Archive and Roger Wilmut who worked with Peter as a studio manager at the BBC were conducted by Alan Dein.

Peter Copeland born on July 17th 1942. He died on July 30th 2006.
Sandra Blow
Artist who has died aged 80.
It's often said of an artist that they lived for their art and in Sandra Blow's case that seems fitting as she continued working in her studio every day until shortly before her death at eighty. Her work was big and bold and abstract - geometric shapes and lines in amazing colour on sometimes vast canvasses. The daughter of a fruit wholesaler at Spitalfields Market in London, she attended St Martin's School of Art and the Royal Academy schools in the 1940s.

The turning point for Sandra came after the war when she went to live in Rome with abstract artist Alberto Burri. She returned to Britain to develop her own style, beginning a long quest for what she called a "startling rightness."
Jane Little talks to artist Tom Phillips.

Sandra Blow was born on September 14th 1925. She died on August 22nd 2006.

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