Thursday, November 20


I want to pay a tribute in this post, but before I do, I slap myself on the wrist for leaving it so long since posting last.

In brief: I'm another 2 pounds lighter, but not happy that I lost 1 pound last week and 1 pound the week before. Hey ho... can't change it and at least it's weight off. Only 1 pound more to reach 1 and a half stone.

I've not been too well for the past fortnight. Just overwhelming fatigue and a very achy back and left hip. Just the same old crap as usual.. it will go away when it feels like it.

Anyway... the tribute. This tribute is to my friend of 26 years, Phil Bestford.

I used to walk to school with Phil every day. He was in the year above me but we used to have a good chat and laugh on the way to school every day. He was so cool to me in my 14 year old girly stage. He had long black hair, wore black jeans to school and his black leather jacket. He was into all the heavy rock music and was a fantastic artist. I used to spend break time in the art rooms with him looking at his work. I was in awe.

Phil refused to sit any school exams except for art. He said he was going to become an artist and it was pointless taking any other exams. There was uproar in school, but Phil did become an artist. More on that in a minute.

When we left school he moved to live with his dad in Sheffield for a while. I didn't see him at all after that until I went on friends re-united and saw his name there. I sent him a message and he replied. It had been 18 years since we'd been in touch. He phoned and we had a good chat and caught up with life. He told me that he was doing an art demonstration about 20 miles away from where I live and asked me to come over to see him at the demonstration. Mark and I drove over and found the art-room where he was working. I walked in the door and there he was... exactly the same as he looked when we were at school! He stopped the demonstration, apologised to everyone and said that he'd not seen me for 18 years, would they excuse him for a moment. He came over and gave me the biggest hug and told me it was so good to see me. he carried on with the demonstration after that. Mark was a bit unsure of the whole surreal situation, but he watched Phil working with his airbrush and demonstrating how it worked and how to achieve different effects with different paints and in no time at all he'd airbrushed a beautiful dragon. Dragons were his 'thing'.

After the demonstration was over we had a good chat and he gave me one of his airbrushed dragon pictures. He said he could quite easily sell it for £90 or so especially as it was signed, but he said because it was me, I could have it. It meant a lot to me.

He followed us home in his car and came in for coffee and a chat and to catch up. He and Mark talked guitars and then we ended up talking about life.

I had noticed that his face around his left eye was slightly dropped. He told us that he had a brain tumour the size of an orange removed. The surgeon couldn't get it all because it was attached to his brain stem. They'd had to remove some of his skull and cheekbone and replaced it with a metal plate. He was due to go in for more surgery in a couple of months. I was gobsmacked. He said they couldn't cure it. He would die from it eventually.

Phil was a fantastic airbrush artist. He painted his designs on crash helmets, leather jackets, motorbikes, and also did tattoo's. He was one of the best in the country. He was extremely well known in the lines of work he did.

We still kept in touch after we met, he'd phone me occasionally and I'd phone him too. The spooky thing was, he called his daughter Eve.. the same as I called mine.

I spoke to him early this year and he apologised for his slurred words. He'd had to have more surgery and they'd removed his left eye and replaced most of the left hand side of his face so the muscles didn't work properly. I could still understand what he was saying, and told him not to worry, I understood. He told me he had to go in for yet more surgery and that he was giving his artwork up. I was shocked. I asked what he was going to do without his art.. he said.. live if I can. I came off the phone in tears, although I didn't let him know. I told him I'd talk to him soon.

I didn't get chance to speak to him again.

I found out last night that Phil had died earlier this year. Of course, no one thought to let me know. I knew it would happen sooner or later. He'd been through so much and fought so hard. He was so upbeat about it all. he never let the fact that he had brain tumours get him down although I know he was in agony a lot of the time with headaches and pains. He was so positive.. in fact he was just being Phil. He will be sadly missed.

I read an article from his local paper that said he had a huge turnout for his funeral.. a massive onterage of bikers led him to the crematorium. Not only that, but a lot of them had his artwork on their bikes. He would have loved that.

Rest in peace Phil. You will be missed by a lot of people. and although we weren't in constant contact, I'll miss you. You were such a special person.

Here is some of Phil's artwork! All are painted by airbrush.

This is almost the same as the white dragon Phil gave to me.

Bald Eagle on the back of a leather jacket

Tiger on the back of a leather jacket

Indian on the back of a leather jacket

Detail on the petrol tank of a motorbike

Full set of plastics for a motorbike

This photograph doesn't do the actual artwork any justice! He showed me this painting and the detail was just stunning!

I have some pictures of my favourites of Phil's work, but I can't find them. They're on a CD somewhere. I'll dig them out tomorrow.

Goodnight Phil! xx