I’m starting to dread Saturday mornings. Not that this morning started out particularly badly…our jaunt around the historic haunts of Stanah with Martyn King was very entertaining, even if I did stick my boot down a pothole and twist my ankle. No, unfortunately the bad news turned up with a telephone call from James Parr shortly after we’d arrived home. Neil Thompson, my old sparring partner and chairman of Wyre Archaeology, has been diagnosed with a brain tumour and is seriously ill in hospital in Lancaster. Neil and I, as anyone who’s ever attended one of the more controversial Wyre Archaeology meetings, or been in the Fylde Country Life Museum on a hot afternoon, or on an excavation when tempers are rising, will be aware, have always argued like cat and dog. We have considerably different approaches to archaeology and all matters antiquarian; differences that more often than not result in…shall we say…lively debate? For all that, however, such arguments were always confined to the academic cupboard. We’ve been friends for a long time, and outside the minutiae of record keeping and archaeological interpretation, have always shared the same objective, to keep our history alive and kicking. This latest news, following so close on the heels of Headlie’s untimely death, has come as another unpleasant shock, both to Michelle and myself and, no doubt, to Wyre Archaeology as a going concern.
That’s why we’re returning to the fold at the next meeting, to show solidarity in these dark hours. George Birchall (vice chairman) will be presiding over the events (we’re sure that George’ll make a good temporary boss) and Peter Iles (the Lancashire County Archaeologist) has agreed to attend to discuss funding, excavations, procurement of professionals and the future of Bourne Hill…although not necessarily in that order. The meeting will take place, as usual, in the café at Wyrefield Farm on the third Wednesday of the month (that’s the 21st of November…we think) at 7.00 p.m. It’s important for as many members, and would-be members, to attend as possible.
In the meantime, here’s hoping that Neil makes a full and speedy recovery.