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In memory of Peter Chase: Ex-Army man who moved from Stortford to Sussex but loved to keep in touch with the town

Angela Barton, of Pryor’s Close in Bishop's Stortford, pays tribute to a kind friend with whom she shared interests in music, books, politics – and laughter...

Those many people who knew Peter Chase socially, through work or the Royal British Legion will be sorry to hear he died on January 13 having been unwell throughout December.

We will all have our own memories of times spent with him and his family. He and I first met through work. Following the sudden death of my partner, he and Judy were immensely kind to me and we remained firm friends ever after.

Some years after Judy’s death he decided to move from Bishop’s Stortford to Sussex to be near his son Richard and his family – they became his only close relatives as his daughter also tragically died.

Although he missed his friends here he never regretted the move and soon settled in; having in his Army days made friends all over the place, he was always good at meeting new people and keeping in touch with old friends.

We maintained our friendship mainly over the phone, sharing interests in music, books (always books) and politics. Despite our varied views on the latter, we never came close to quarrelling. And we did laugh a lot.

Working in a bookshop, I always had a list of “things to look out for for Peter”, and when I visited him for the weekend I carried a small overnight bag and a very heavy suitcase full of successful finds.

He was always keen to hear about people and events in this town and I sometimes sent him copies of our local paper (he liked the Indie very much).

Although he was becoming steadily more physically frail, he remained as mentally alert as ever: the last conversation I had with him was on the subject of whether or not one could ever really understand a book if only able to read it in translation, with specific reference to Virgil and Homer!

Under present restrictions Richard can’t arrange a public funeral but hopes, at that time we all look forward to “when things are better”, to hold a sociable event in his memory.

As we know, Peter loved a party.

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