My dearest friend Paul Wilkins died on the last day of this month in 2007 at the too young age of 55. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just four weeks before his death. He was from London but had made his home in Derry and it is here in this city that he is buried in a graveyard which overlooks Lumen Christi College where he was the librarian. His untimely death shocked and saddened the city he called home. His presence is everywhere I go in my house because he left me so many books and memories and a picture of Garcia Lorca which he had carried all the way from Granada. I can look over and see that lovely black and white picture as I type this. We had planned to visit Istanbul, Marrakesh, Siena, Damascus and various other wonderful places but sadly fate dealt a cruel blow. I want to dedicate this to his memory and include part of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony which we both adored and it is only very recently that I have managed to listen to it again without going to pieces. It is sad and beautiful, a lot like life at times. The library in the college is now fittingly called the Paul Wilkins Library and there is a Paul Wilkins Literary award each year for the pupil who excels in English.
I took the above photo just shortly before his death.