© John O’Brien
Daniel & I met at a Dinner in 1990 possibly in Cologne, my memory fails on that! As we talked, we both came to realise that this was not the first time that we had met. Between 1960 & 1967-8 I was Book Manager & Buyer at the English Bookshop (W H Smith) in Brussels. At that time in addition to the Book Department there were News & Stationery Departments and a Tearoom. During our conversation Daniel & I began to realise that we had met one another about 1967 when Daniel was about 6 or 7! Daniel`s Mother, Mme Dumont was very anglophile and frequently visited the shop and on one occasion at least she brought a young Daniel with her with the long term aim of encouraging him to learn English and with the added attraction for Daniel, of Ice Cream in the Tearoom, a liking which was to last all his life.
Both of us then had the dawning realisation that Daniel`s Mother had said to Daniel, ` this is Mr Allan, the Book Manager`, it then seems that I then found and gave Daniel a copy in English of one of Herge`s Tintin Stories which said Daniel he had kept until it fell apart.
As John O`Brien writes at the beginning of this tribute to Daniel, there were moments when Daniel could be quirky and seemingly stubborn, but we all have our failings and little ways. So, it is fitting that so many people have expressed their thanks for all that Daniel accomplished in so many areas during his life.
Whilst others were involved it is to Daniel that I say a posthumous – thank you – In 2016 at the ECMC AGM in Helsinki kindly Hosted by MSC Finland, at the end of the Agenda the last item was listed as – Proposal by the Secretary ECMC, but it didn`t say what the proposal was.
As the Meeting reached this item Paul Turner who was then President of London Leather Men signalled to me to come out of the room waving his Mobile Phone indicating there was a message for me. I thought this was odd but faithfully followed Paul out of the room. For some minutes Paul kept saying `I can`t get a connection, with myself continuing to be mystified as to who would be on Pauls phone who knew me. Then there was a shout, please return to the room!
As I entered the room all present stood & clapped and Daniel on behalf of ECMC told me that the Meeting had unanimously agreed to nominate and make me Patron, ECMC. I am not ashamed to say I was moved to tears. But revived a little to hear Daniel add – `the others are all dead`.
So, THANK YOU Daniel for your life and giving me these two and many other special memories – you live on in my heart.
We would like to sincerely thank all who contributed; all who were unable to contribute for one reason or another and to all who shared memories privately.We hope to be able to add further memories that may have been delayed due to the current Covid – 19 restrictions, illness and various issues.
Daniel Rest well and don’t laugh at us too much.
Daniel – Requiescat in Pace