Especially when the October wind…

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Especially when the October wind
(Some let me make you of autumnal spells,
The spider-tongued, and the loud hill of Wales)
With fists of turnips punishes the land,
Some let me make you of the heartless words.
The heart is drained that, spelling in the scurry
Of chemic blood, warned of the coming fury.
By the sea’s side hear the dark-vowelled birds.

– Dylan Thomas

Everywhere there was red. The scarlet red of Wales…

Each year in Cannes, a group of industry friends get together for a night of camraderie and no little revelry at Le Festival restaurant on the Croisette. It’s a celebration of international friendships, old and new, a night to set aside the work talk that will dominate the week to come.

This year the companionship was as warm as ever, the toasts as frequent, the freefall descent into ‘after party’ mode as full-on and chaotic as one has come to expect. But this year a regular guest was missing, Alan Edwards (below), son of Wales, friend of so many, who passed away recently at the age of just 55.

To honour our fallen friend, guests were asked to wear the red of Wales, the men in Welsh rugby jumpers, the women in items of their choice.

The effect was like gazing out at Cardiff Arms Park, a swathe of red punctuated only by the yellow daffodils on each table.

Alan’s wife Lesley graced the occasion. So did her son Chris. It must have been  difficult for them so soon after Alan’s death. But both must have taken strength from the amazing warmth in which he was held.

[Jane Grant (left) with Lesley and Chris Edwards]

There were readings and songs, some poignant, some powerful, all heartfelt. Alan would have laughed at seeing his passionate English rugby supporter friend Stuart McGuire wearing those scarlet  hues and reciting prose extolling the virtues of Welsh rugby. 

He would have smiled and perhaps shed a tear as fellow Welshman Kevin Walsh (below) sang the songs of his country. He would have let out his trademark chuckle as I chose the red of Wales over my favoured rugby garb of all black and read those words of Dylan Thomas above.

A lovely night, sometimes sad, never maudlin. Just right. It sounds trite to say so, but Alan would have liked it.

It was a night when that ‘loud hill of Wales’ rang with the sound of tributes. A night when a sea of red could not be parted. A night when we said a final farewell to a friend.

[Mandy and John Sime, Martin Moodie]

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