OUT IN THE FIELD: Remembering the lovely Ian Gow

Dame Jane Gow with the bus named in her late husband's honour
Dame Jane Gow with the bus named in her late husband's honour

Just as everyone knows what they were doing the day Kennedy died or when the planes went into the Twin Towers, most Eastbournians remember where they were the day the popular and much loved and respected Conservative MP Ian Gow was murdered by the IRA. I had walked in to the Herald newsroom that Monday morning and promptly walked back out again amid reports there had been a “gas explosion” in Hankham. Myself and fellow hack Gary Noakes drove to the village where we were met by police cordons. Within an hour the world’s press had descended on the small village which was to become our home for the next three days. July 30 was a scorching hot day, we had no mobile phones back then and our stories were still written on portable typewriters. I remember working round the clock as politicians from across the spectrum paid tribute to Mr Gow and senior Tories including Margaret Thatcher came down to Sussex to comfort his wife Jane and their two sons. As local reporters we had all known Mr Gow well. He was a one off in terms of an MP – always willing to help anybody and take up their fight. We were all devastated and indignant that such a horrific atrocity had happened to such a lovely man at his home just moments after he kissed his family goodbye. This week to celebrate his life, 25 years after his assassination, friends gathered at the home of Conservative stalwart David Stevens in Meads to remember Mr Gow. Dame Jane Gow was the guest of honour and was clearly delighted to be back in Eastbourne. A bus named after Mr Gow duly arrived and everyone toasted his memory with a glass of his favourite White Lady cocktail, a delightful mix of gin, Cointreau and lemon juice. He would have loved it.

I hope the council does all it can to find the driver who charged students almost £50 to get from the station to Hampden Park. Let’s hope one rogue cabbie doesn’t tar all drivers with the same brush.

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