While we were traveling around Scotland on our recent film shoot for Visit Britain I was alerted to some very sad news. I am still feeling the shock of it and it doesn’t quite feel real, even now when I’m back in London again. Unfortunately it is though, and I must acknowledge that our world is spinning on in its mighty course without two great people who made it a richer, more interesting place.

In short succession fate delivered a one-two body blow. First, I heard that my uncle Alan Rees had been caught in a huge storm while sailing single-handed in the Atlantic around 100 miles off Spain and Portugal and despite being well-prepared and highly experienced, the conditions overcame his boat and he was lost.  Shortly afterwards I also learned
that a  friend of mine working in Baku, Azerbaijan as editor of AZ Magazine had suddenly passed away while apparently in good health, without any warning.

AZ Magazine

This cast something of a pall over our last few days in Scotland.  My thoughts go out to Alan’s family, his brother Ian and his children Neil and Linda.  Ian and I will prepare a properly reflective obituary for Alan here when more facts are in about this disaster.

Steve Hollier

Steve Hollier RIP

Meanwhile, today I want to write a few words in praise of Steve Hollier, a photo-journalist of great talent and keen insight, for years a fellow Londoner, drawn abroad by his desire to explore the world and well skilled as writer and photographer, very capable of sharing his experiences through the media he loved. I think you can’t be a good writer without being well-read yourself, and Steve was well-read. In his many years of work with The British Council, Steve made a superb cultural Ambassador. He was thrilled to be editing AZ Magazine and was doing such a great job, his love of Azerbaijan shone through his writing.

I enjoyed reading Steve’s blog and recommend it whole-heartedly. His work is witty, and illuminating. I was fortunate to collaborate on an article recently with him for ANA Wingspan Inflight magazine, it worked well and we were both confident that we’d be working together on similar projects. We were looking forward to it, but fate dictatedotherwise, sadly.  Fare well, Steve.