Monday, 31 August 2009

Albert Hammond

Albert Richard Douglas Hammond

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of our writing colleague and friend, Albert Hammond, on 16th June 2009, aged 84.

A long-time member of Erskine Writers, along with his wife Kathleen, Albert contributed so much to the group each week. From his love of reading and writing poetry and prose to the deep Christian faith he was always happy to share, Albert was a very active member until his health started to deteriorate during the last year.

It was a measure of the group’s love and respect for Albert that he received the President’s Achievement Award at the annual dinner in November 2008, for outstanding commitment to Erskine Writers and his continuing enthusiasm that was an inspiration to us all.

Originally from the isle of Sheppey in Kent, Albert served in the Admiralty in Greenock, before moving back to England. A recipient of the British Empire Medal and the Imperial Service Medal, Albert was also a devoted member and preacher of the Methodist Church. Along with his beloved Kathleen, he was an equally devoted foster-parent to over forty children and beloved father to Ruth, Stuart and Martin.

Albert did not show any signs of slowing down in his latter years and never lost his love of the written word, becoming an enthusiastic member of the Scottish Association of Writers, the Scottish Federation of Writers and the Scottish Fellowship of Christian Writers. One of his greatest delights was the first day he attended a meeting of the SFCW in Stirling and discovered a long-lost friend from his days in Kent.

Albert and Kathleen returned to Scotland to support their son, Martin, through his progressive Multiple Sclerosis. It was after the sadness of Martin’s death, that Albert began to suffer a series of strokes, from which he gradually recovered, until the final one took him to his Maker.

Although he was increasingly frail this last year, we will remember Albert as someone who never gave in to his frailty. At the SAW in March, he was one of the last people to leave the disco on the Saturday evening. He might not have been able to dance (although he had a little shoogle on the carpet) but he was as keen to enjoy the fun and friendship as always.

Towards the end of May, only a month before he died, Albert was at the Erskine Writers’ end of session Garden Party just as he was every other year. Our writing group will never be the same without this remarkable man. His son, Stuart (fellow writer Marc Sherland), summed up his father’s life perfectly on the Order of Service:

‘A Life lived full – and full of Life’

Written by Rosemary Gemmell

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