A life well-lived

On Monday there was a brief pause in the frenetic pace of electioneering as I attended the funeral of Scottish Green founder, Leslie Spoor.

Leslie was in his 101st year when he died and had packed a lot in!  He had already started to withdraw his old age pension when he founded the then Scottish Ecology Party in 1978. Until the last 4 or 5 years he had been an active attender of Green meetings and even managed a brief foray in 2010’s general election campaign.

The funeral was a humanist one and the recollection of Leslie’s life threw up a few surprises.  I knew that Leslie had taken part in the 1936 Battle of Cable Street, when ordinary people rose up against Mosley’s British Union of Fascists.  I also knew that Leslie was turned down for the RAF when the second world war broke out on account of him being too old (!)  But I did not not know that he had danced a reel with Charlie Chaplin aged 3 in 1913.  Nor had I appreciated just how extensively Leslie had travelled after he retired from a career lecturing and teaching.  It seems that, for Leslie, the world never had narrow horizons.

Funerals are always sad occasions and I am sure that this was the case for Leslie’s wife Pat and Leslie’s children.  But looking across Mortonhall with the spring flowers coming out and the Pentlands bathed in sunshine through the bare trees, it was hard not to think positively on a life well-lived.