Thursday, 10 November 2011

A Tribute To A Beautiful Friend

Yesterday I lost a friend to cancer. She was brilliant and I mean that in every sense of the word. Despite the significant age gap we had so much in common and it was a friendship that was nurtured through our love of samba.

I first met Diane when I travelled all the way down to London from Ipswich one gloomy Sunday night for a work shop at the London School of Samba. I'd never danced samba before, let alone been to an escola and yet, being welcomed on the door by this lovely lady suddenly put my mind at rest. I knew I was in the right place and there I stayed for a few years thereafter. 

Diane was a real go-getter. She played 2nd surdo (those are the large, deep drums for those not in the know-much like Di, they are the heart of the samba). She took no nonsense and boy did she know how to have a good time. 

Stormin' Norm & Di in 2007 

A few years ago she decided, alongside her wonderful partner or "significant other"  (now husband) Norm to pack up and retire to Mallorca. It was like losing a member of the family for the school where she'd been such an integral part for the 25 years since it started, but she knew it was something they'd wanted to do. She started up her own blog to keep us all informed of their antics and escapades and called it 'Two Crumblies And A Cat'. If you get the chance to read some of it, it really is very good, her sense of humour really shines through. It was also on her blog that most of us found out that she'd been diagnosed with bowel cancer-that didn't stop her taking time out to be glammed up for a photo shoot though!

We followed her journey through her various treatments and experiences of Spanish hospitals before she was told in no uncertain terms that it was terminal. Within weeks she and Norm has sold their apartment and moved back to Suffolk to be closer to her children, they got married, found somewhere new to call home by the sea and were very happy despite it all. 

Earlier this year I did the Race For Life 10K speed walking with my best friend in Di's name and it felt really good to be raising money and helping to get one step closer to finding a cure.

The last time I saw her was a few months ago now with Norm. She met my son, we talked about antiques, drove past many an Art Deco house swooning on our travels down the coast and had a wonderful day full of laughter. Of course she seemed tired, but that wasn't going to stop her living. She'd even had a piano delivered up several flights of stairs the day before-her latest steal from a local auction that she was over the moon with and delighted to be able to start playing again.

Thank you for being my friend Diane. Thank you for welcoming me into a world that meant so much to me for many years. Thanks for the laughs. I promise to look in on Norm as much as I can.

And yes, I can already hear you telling me to "pull yourself together and get on with it", so here it is, my tribute to you, Beth Carvalho's Vou Festejar (I celebrate).

Rest In Peace my friend.


Image Credits

'A Celebration Of Women' calendar by Samantha Hemsley Photography


  1. Beautiful, with a tear in my eye, which means it's very special. :0)x

  2. I'm so sorry you have lost a beautiful friend. She sounded amazing...I had a Grandma who lost her battle with bowel cancer. Your post reminded me of her joy of life, her laugh and her love of dancing!
    I remember her so often, as i'm sure you will with Diane.
    Hugs, Emma x

  3. Was very moved by your story about such a vibrant, beautiful person and the friendship you were lucky enough to enjoy. Sounds like she lived and loved life well. Who couldn't when surrounded by samba (am former samba drummer myself). Hope you are surrounded by good folk to help you through this time. Debbie