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The kindness of Christopher Booker

Blog | By Matthew Darroch-Thompson | Jul 05, 2019

Fleet Street by James Valentine, c.1890

At the end of the 1960s, when I was a young teenager, Christopher Booker stayed with my journalist parents from time to time.

His visits always produced much laughter, and he would join us for long walks in the Hertfordshire countryside. My main memories of those walks are his jokes and his skilful identification of all flora and fauna we encountered, especially the rare ones.

His overnight stays were not always planned – lunch sometimes extended beyond the usual hours – but I have only pleasant memories about those visits.

Years later I passed him the street near the Private Eye offices. Rudely, I stopped him and introduced myself but, despite the intrusion, he could not have been more charming and insisted on buying me a drink. He made me feel very valued, even though I knew I didn’t really deserve it.

His letter to my mother when my father died was one of the most affecting and perceptive that she received.