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LAST WORD
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Last Word
Listen to the latest editionFriday 16:00-16:30

Radio 4's weekly obituaries programme
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We welcome your comments and suggestions contact us
This week
Friday 26th May 2006
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently. This week: Desmond Dekker, Lieutenant Colonel Sir John Miller, Freddie Garrity, Alan Sapper, Eric Bedser and Cheikha Rimitti.
DESMOND DEKKER 
Jamaican born Reggae star who has died aged 64.

Desmond Dekker was born Desmond Dacres in Kingston. He worked as a welder before emerging as a singer in the early Sixties, when he signed to Leslie Kong's Beverley Records label. His big break came in 1967 when he recorded 007 (Shanty Town), which won him credibility among Jamaica's rude boy scene and made him a hero amongst British mods.

In 1968, Dekker's world-wide breakthrough came with "The Israelites". After moving to Britain in the 1970's, he continued to record hits like "You can Get It If You Really Want", written by Jimmy Cliff but then followed a period of decline and by 1984, he was faced with bankruptcy.

Brinsley Forde, lead singer of the British Reggae group, 'Aswad', discusses Desmond Dekker's life and legacy.

Desmond Dekker was born on July 16th 1941. He died May 25th 2006.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL SIR JOHN MILLER
Crown Equerry from 1961-1987 who has died aged 87.

For 26 years, Lieutenant Colonel Sir John Miller, was in charge of all the Queen's horses. He was responsible for organising carriages and horses for every Royal occasion from Trooping the Colour, to four Royal weddings and numerous State Openings of Parliament. He was also instrumental in helping Princess Anne develop her skills as a horsewoman, encouraged Prince Charles to take up hunting and helped the Duke of Edinburgh in his pursuit of carriage driving.

John Miller was born into a military family and had a distinguished war record. He won the Military Cross and DSO for bravery in action following the Normandy landings.

Michael Clayton, former Editor of Horse and Hound magazine, remembers his friend.

Lieutenant Colonel Sir John Miller was born on February 4th 1919. He died on May 17th 2006.
FREDDIE GARRITY
Lead singer of 'Freddie and the Dreamers' who has died aged 69.

It was during his career as a milkman, that Mancunian Freddie Garrity shot to fame in the 1960s, while touring Britain's seaside resorts with his backing band The Dreamers.

'Freddie and the Dreamers' followed the Beatles to a club in Hamburg and shared the bill with them at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in 1962. They later went on to score two top ten UK hits 'I Am Telling You Now' and 'You Were Made For Me', which also did well in the American Charts.

'Freddie and the Dreamers' guitarist, Derek Quinn, and cultural historian, CP Lee remember Freddie Garrity.

Freddie Garrity was born on November 14th 1936. He died on May 19th 2006.

ALAN SAPPER 
TUC leader and General Secretary of the Film and TV Technician's Union (the ACTT) has died aged 75.

Alan Sapper made a surprising career change from botany to trade unionism. In 1979 he led an eleven week strike across almost the entire ITV network, which won an almost 30% pay rise for its members. In 1987 he led a less successful campaign against TV-AM which resulted in a lock-out and many members losing their jobs.

Film Producer,Lord Puttnam and former ACTT Deputy General Secretary, Roy Lockett praise Alan Sapper's approach. 

Alan Sapper was born on March 18th 1936.  He died on May 19th 2006.
Eric Bedser
English cricketer who has died aged 87.

Eric and Alec Bedser were the English cricketing twins of the twentieth century. Alec specialised in fast bowling whilst Eric became a spin bowler and went on to play more than 450 first class matches for Surrey.

Earlier this year the brothers gave their last interview to Radio 4 in series about people returning from the Second World War.

Eric Arthur Bedser was born on the 4th July 1918. He died on the 24th May 2006.
Cheikha Rimitti
Algerian music legend who has died aged 83.

Cheikha Rimitti is acclaimed as one of the greatest female singers of the Muslim world. Rimitti was known as the mother of Rai music which combines African sounds with western pop. Her death came two days after a performance in Paris for thousands of fans. She had recently released her latest album 'N'ta Goudami' or 'Face Me'.

Radio 3 world music specialist, Andy Kershaw, who is currently in the Algerian port city of Oran tells us about how local people have reacted to news of her death.

Cheikha Rimitti was born on May 8th 1923. She died on May 15th 2006.

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