I am sad to report that my good friend and Friends of Charles Darwin co-founder, Nigel Longhurst, died on 5th June.
Although he wasn't actively involved in the continued running of the Friends, Fitz, as I knew him, was a huge fan of Darwin, and took great delight in seeing his hero depicted on the Bank of England £10 note. He was also a dedicated sceptic, whose planned magnum opus, Fitzroy's Crap Theories of the Mind, Body & Spirit, sadly never saw the light of day.
Nigel's nickname, Fitzroy, came about when, down the pub one evening, we worked out our ‘author names’ by taking our middle names and appending the names of the roads in which we had been brought up. My author name, Lewis Alistair, had a certain Scottish dignity to it, but never caught on; Nigel's author name, Craig Fitzroy, was an instant hit—not least because of its Darwinian connotations.
Having very similar senses of humour, Fitz and I made a habit of taking credit for each other's jokes, but I must confess that it was Fitz who came up with the Friends of Charles Darwin's rather clever motto, Charlie is my Darwin—a pun on Robert Burns's Charlie, He's my Darling—and it was Fitz (writing as ‘Torn Rubbers’) who penned our magnificent parody of the Burns classic. (‘Torn Rubbers’, as very few people seem to have realised, is an anagram of ‘Robert Burns’.)
My condolences to Fitz's wife, Madeleine (Ms Fitz), and to his three children from an earlier marriage, Paula, David and Oliver.
I'll miss the daft, old bugger.