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For My Bro My Special Friend Will Palin  
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Will & Jan  


 


 

 

 
 

Will Palin

20th July 1951 -18th October 2011

R.I.P. My Bro, My Special Friend

This page is dedicated to a very special person who was like a Brother to me for many years. Will was very special and he will never be forgotten by me or any of his friends. R.I.P. My very special friend

I met Will in the 1960's when he lived with his Mum Denna in King George Street, Greenwich. Him and Denna became my close friends from that moment on. We stood by each other for years picking up the pieces when either of us had messed up, supporting each other when either of us were down. If our lives took us away from the UK we wrote letters at least weekly sometimes daily to each other , we telephoned each other and made cassette tapes of our favorite music. Will even got tapes together for me with messages from all our friends. The song I always included on my tapes to Will was Carole King's "You've got a friend" and Will's song to me was always the James Taylor version of the same song.

We spent our free time with all our good friends either in the Three Tuns in Blackheath or at music festivals, concerts, party's, jamming sessions at 185 Trafalger Road, wonderful weekends on Jeff Blundell's island,

in or outside The Tolly in Royal Hill, our flat in Circus Street

Will & Peter Hince in Circus Street

or other local pubs in Greenwich.

Through his time at Kleptomania Carnaby Street, through his Underhill studio days, David Bowie tours,

Will in the USA on David Bowie Tour

Ground Control, Lou Reed tours, Mick Ronson tours, Eno and the Winkies, Mott the Hoople and many many more we stayed in touch constantly. He took me along to lots of the concerts and introduced me to his work colleagues and the stars he worked for. He even had me gaffa taping cables to the floor at some of the concerts ha, ha. We had such great times.

When I left I.T. (underground newspaper) in August 1969 and traveled overland with my friend Trish to India, Will kept the letters coming. When I lived in Frankfurt in the 70's and Will was in the USA with Bowie we still kept our communications going and when Bowie's tour finished Will drove a VW camper over to Frankfurt and took me for a 3 week holiday traveling the coast of Spain. He was my Brother my special Friend and I loved him so much.

I lived for a short while with him and Denna his Mum at 185 Trafalgar Road and then I found a new flat for us in Circus street . It was when we lived in Circus Street that Will met and fell in love with Jan a beautiful Lady, who he went on to marry and they had 2 Son's Mark and Branton and as Will told me recently a Grandchild.

*********

In May 1982 Will came and stayed for a night at our house in Milton Keynes. I cannot remember which band he was with then but he was on his way back down the M1 from a gig. I remember that night so well as Will had met our friend Peter Hince in one of the motorway stops. Peter was also on his way to Milton Keynes as he worked for Queen and they were playing that day at the MK bowl. Will said that Peter had invited us to go to the concert but Dave & I had a new born Son and our Eldest Son Liam to look after so I cooked a chillie and we all sat on our balcony and listened to the whole concert, which came across to our house loud and clear. On October 5th that year tragedy struck our Family, our Son Zak died. Me, my husband and my Son Liam went down for a short holiday to Will & Jan's. They made us so welcome. We spent our evenings chatting, drinking wine and going through all Will's old photos and colour slides.

Brenda, Jan & Will October 1982 at Will & Jan's House, Devon

Brenda, Jan & Will October 1982 Devon

He had a great collection of slides, some from one of David Bowie's USA tours. Sadly he lost all his photos in later years to water damage. After our trip to Devon sadly it was just weeks after that I lost my Husband Dave in a road accident. Will and Jan were there for me again.While we were at Jan and Will's. Dave & Will took Liam & Mark off fishing and Jan and I stayed home and chatted and drank wine. Such great memories!!

Will & Mark October 1982 Devon

Liam & Dave October 1982 Devon

Will and I kept in touch and met up on a few occasions in S.E. London. The last time I met him in London was at Wood Wharf rehearsal studios where he was working with Squeeze. I was staying with Lorraine, and Will Liam & I spent a fantastic evening catching up and laughing a lot. As we always did.

I went to Devon once after that to visit Trisha Ingram I don't remember what year that was but my lovely friend Trish organized a surprise party and Will & Jan came with their Sons Mark & Branton, Martin Hennings, Tom James, John and Jane Hurford came too. It was a wonderful day and I still have a video from it.

Taken at Trish's in Devon

Trish,Jan, Jane & John Hurford, Will, Me & Tom James

 

Me & Will in Greenwich Park

Will & I have stayed in touch when we could. Later through Facebook when I formed the closed group for our friends "Blackheath & Greenwich 60's Crowd" we all had such fun adding old photos and remembering those times with all our crazy comments. Will also created a closed group "the Bowie Crew" for all his friends from that time and the people he met and worked with during the tours. I was privileged to be part of that group.

I received a message on my Facebook page on October 5th from Will asking for my home number. He phoned me that evening and told me how ill he was. We talked for so long about him and his wonderful Family and about old times and friends. I am so happy I was able to speak to him and let him know how much his Sis loved him. My Thoughts and love are now with his lovely wife Jan, his Sons Mark & Branton and all their Family.

This world will be a sadder one without our dear friend Will in it.

18th October 2011

RIP My Bro, my special friend

 

2 New Photograph's kindly sent to me from Robin Mayhew

Willie taken at Ground Control HQ

Pete Hince, Robin Mayhew & Willie taken on Lou Reed European Tour

Will on the stage right of David Bowie. Will dancing & wearing yellow suit :-) x  

My Spider that Will had made for me and "The Spiders from Mars"

Will Palin wrote  

In a moment of madness in the Tolly pub in West Greenwich, London I commission Rob White (a silversmith) to make these sterling silver 'Spiders' in early '73. Of the five I gave one to each of the three Spiders (Mick, Woody and Trevor), this one to Brenda and kept one myself (mine was stolen in New York on a Dana Gillespie tour) - They cost £20 each then. It would be interesting to see what they are (or this, most likely the only remaining one) is worth today, possibly a few thousand - who knows? Just pleased one survived.
November 4, 2009 at 12:02am

Photograph from Peter Hince taken of Will on the Mick Ronson Tour.

Photograph taken by Bo

Will sent me this photo of him and Suzi Ronson taken by Philip John

Photo of Will taken about 6 years ago by Martin Henning

Another Photograph From Peter Hince

This was on the Eno tour - and it's WIll, me (in the shades...) and Nigel - Roxy Music and Eno's lighting designer. I recall it was the foyer of a hotel in Bradford.... Peter


 

 
 

CONDOLENCE MESSAGES

Brenda Anderson-Browne

A Wonderful person who will be loved and missed always. RIP My Brother My Very Special Friend from Brenda xxxx

Robin Mayhew

- Hi Brenda, Thank you so much for filling me in.  Will and I, as you may have known, shared a great ,though short, experience when we helped David Bowie succeed in his quest for stardom.  At that time and for a while after we were very close and he helped me with the start up of my business after Bowie vanished to the States in 1973. When Willie, as I knew him then, moved on I never saw  again though recently, only a few months ago, I had spoken with him many times as I launched a new music project which involved selling the original microphone that Bowie had used to help with the finance.  He joked about the fact that he still the guitar he had bought in New York which, I know, certainly helped with the creation of the song Gene Genie.

Gosh I remember we went fishing on one occasion on the Thames and he was telling all about someone who he knew who lived on an island somewhere along the river.  We had a great laugh as he recalled the 'stoned' times he had spent there.  I will always remember him and what we taught each other.

Still can't believe it but thanks Brenda for letting me know.  Please stay in touch. Best wishes to you, Robin

Patricia Ingram 

I was with Denna at her passing and so much wish I could have been with Will. But I feel sure he was surrounded with a close and loving family. He is with Den now and I am doubly sad that they have passed on. But their spirit will always, always live on. Especially in the hearts and minds of those of us who knew him so well. Mr.Smiley Will.  

  Pete Christopher 

I can't remember the last time that I saw Will,it would be well before I moved to yorkshire ,12 years ago but i always felt that I would see him again,it was one of life's re-assuring 'constants' . I shall remember that Will smile that took over his face always ,his constant enthusiasm ,so infectious that had me humping rubble out of 'Underhill studios' or driving all over creation at strange hours on dubious erands

A sad day and a colder world. A warm light has gone out . See you later Will x

'

Martin Henning

I ‘m really devastated about what happened to Will. I’m just relieved that it was peaceful at the end.Will was a truly lovely man. I’ve known him since I was 19 or so and we shared a lot of growing up experiences at that time in Greenwich, finding our places together in the wider world and all that. We made music together, we discovered new music together, shared friendships and generally shared really good times in Greenwich & Blackheath, which I’ll remember all my life. It’s the little every day things, which are the most important, really, because together they form a whole picture. The fact that his and Denna’s home was an open house to his friends; we were all welcome any time; his overall generosity, already apparent, to every one he knew and his willingness to help if any one of us was in trouble - a kind word, a place to stay (I‘m thinking particularly of Dougie here who he welcomed into his home when he was sleeping rough on Blackheath), a cup of tea. All these seemingly little things were an indication of Will’s generosity of spirit that carried on through the rest of his life. Later,  we spent some time working together on Will’s schemes for East Lyn. He shared his dreams for the place and his life to some extent with me and to have been part of that I feel truly honoured. He had a wonderfully inventive and imaginative mind, which led to some brilliant, practical ideas for it. I was always amazed at what he would have floating around in his head – always something new whenever I went over to see him. I admired his enthusiasm and his courage and most of all his underlying humanity in what he did and the way that he obviously really cared about people in general and most of all his family and friends. He always put his family first. His love for you and the children was obviously his driving force in everything he did.

Martin xxx

Harry Rogers

I wrote this in June 2010 and after the news I just got I wanted to remember the happy times in Blackheath and Greenwich around 1967 to 1976, truly a golden age.

A Song For A Lost Friend

YOUNG IN THE 60’s AND THE 70’s
Through Greenwich Park gates a new day was dawning,
Out on Blackheath the Piper was calling,
Sitting on pavements outside The Tuns
We really were the beautiful ones
We were young in the 60s and the 70’s
We already know what heaven is
We never hid our love with disguise
We had rainbows running through our eyes
Willy and Fruit, Brenda and Bo
Peregrine Took, Johnny and Jo
Dikmik, Marc, Bob Fringes and Mo
Trevor and Duggie, and Jim and Glo
We seemed to be so transcendent
In our finery resplendent
Turquoise, silver, velvets and silk
Never before had they seen our ilk
The joss and the kif made the air smell so trippy
Such was the life of the true Blackheath hippy.
We were young in the 60s and the 70’s
We already know what heaven is
We never hid our love with disguise
We had rainbows running through our eyes

.

Su Small

Hi Brenda, So sorry about Will. Bo sent me a message yesterday and I have been thinking about him since then. I was hoping to visit but didn't realise I had no time. Hell. He was a good friend to me many years ago, but not long enough for me to forget, and I would have been so happy to have seen him again.

John Harper

 

Like so many I will miss Will. We grew up, played, partied and had a wonderful times in Blackheath and Greenwich. So many great memories.  We all grew up and moved on with our life's, and in my case I lost touch with many of that old crowd, but thanks to Brenda, Will and I reconnected a few years ago and it was like the old days, I went to Devon with my two step daughters and stayed with Will and Jan, we had a great time and I have been trying to help him achieve his dream for East Lyn Farm and manor. Alas I think that, will die with its creator as he was the only one who could have made it happen .I will miss Will like so many others, as he was loved by many.  I cant say rest in peace, as he won’t, so where ever you now are, Enjoy and Party on my dear friend. GOD BLESS YOU WILL PALIN    

 

Tom James

It has come as a bit of a shock! I didn't Know that willy had been ill.
My mind goes straight back to my misspent youth, and all the good times we all spent up in Willy's room in Trafalgar Road, Greenwich.

******************

Hi Brenda,

Iv'e just been reading the tribute to willy on the website. Looking at the photo's has brought back many memories.

the last time i saw Willy was about 15 years ago when i driving into Exeter and saw willy trying to hitch a ride. I was a bit surprised to see him hitch hiking.
It was the the first time we had seen each other since we all met at Trish's cottage in Devon. It was really good to see him and we had a good old chat.

It seems so long ago now Brenda since the day you first took me and my brother Ray around to 185 Trafalgar Rd, In i think 1967 to meet WIlly and Denna.
We all became friends immediately and i spent many a enjoyable day and nights listening and playjng music with Willy and friends.
Denna was great keeping us supplied all with cups of tea and biscits when we had had a long night of spiritual creativity!

Thanks to you Brenda meeting Willy and like minded peoples around at
185 and Blackheath changed my and Rays life for the better getting us both away
from the bad streets of Greenwich.
Even tho i haven't seen many of my friends for years I haven't forgotten them. We were all lucky to be part of what was happening in the sixties, It bound
us all together.

We both know the feeling of loss and sadness that his Wife and family are feeling at this moment, They have lost a good friend, and so have we.
All of our friends who have passed on will live in on in our hearts and minds for as long as we remember them.

Your friend always,
Tom.
xxx


 

Peter Hince

I worked with Will on many tours - Mott, Bowie, Ronno, Lou Reed, Eno ......

They were great days - full of youthful adventure and fun as we made our way around Britain and Europe. It was Will who taught me (among other things) how to swap over drivers in a 3 ton truck - while at full speed in the fast lane of the M1 Motorway ! We lost touch for quite a while, and apart from getting in contact in the 1990s - I hadn't heard from him until the Facebook era brought us back together. He will be be sadly missed.






 

Rod Demick

very sad, I didn't even know he was ill. We had only just got back in touch, Bless him . Love Rod x

 

 

Andy Clark

Willie Palin was a gentle,kind and enthusiastic man who changed the direction of my life (a few times) - I first met him in Carnaby St in the 60's and he was the first hippy I'd ever seen - also he was the first person I'd ever heard use the phrase "No Way" (when just back from the USA) - When I gave up Rock n Roll - got a motor bike and worked pumping gas on Bromley Common - A car drove in and someone said "What on earth are you doing here?-Jump in!"- T'was Willie Palin !


 

 

 

A Collection of Photographs of Willie collected by Bo (Colin Bodiam) a very close and old friend of Will's. Will's funeral 27th October 2011. I am told That Will had a good send off by his Family and Friends who could make it to his funeral. The rest of his friends spread out around the World raised their glasses and made a toast to Will at 12:30pm on the day. Willie will be sadly missed by many.

R.I.P. Our Dear Friend Will Palin

 

♫ ♪Old Friends, Sat on a Park Bench like Bookends ♪♫- Me & Willie in Greenwich Park

 

 

This is from an email that came in this morning from Robin Mayhew, Will's good friend and work collegue from The David Bowie & Ground Control days.

"Hi Brenda,
This back from Paul Kinder who runs the very big Bowie Wonderworld site.
Thought you might want to pass it on.

Hi Robin

> I emailed David earlier and forwarded him the email you sent about Will.
> He replied:

> "that's very sad

> please pass my condolences (and regards) on to robin.

> db"

An email sent today to Robin Mayhew from Angie Bowie

Dear Robin,

 

I am shocked to hear that Will is dead.

I just wrote to him about a year ago and he was telling me about how and where all our mates from the road were and what they are doing.
Robin thank you for writing me with the news.....sad news though yes, vibrant, lively and creative!

 

love Angie

Email to Robin from Suzi Ronson

It seems as if it was yesterday he started that page for the roadies of Bowie crew. I am so sorry he has gone so young. I didn't know Robin this is so sad. He was so young I am so upset by this you cannot imagine.

 

Message yesterday to Robin from George Underwood a close friend of David's who was there on the first USA tour that Willie was on.
Dear Robin,

 

I am so sorry to hear about Willie.

He was much loved and I will remember all the great times we had on the '72 ziggy tour in the states.

My condolences to all his friends and family.

 

 

george 

Message to Robin from from Paul Trynka who recently published the book

'David Bowie Starman'

So sorry to hear this. Thanks for letting me know. 

16 February 2014

Bill Cobham here

Hello I just found out about Willie's passing in 2011. I am saddened by this as my memories of Willie and his family are only very positive. Also, I have thought of visiting Willie when I come to Devon and strangely, Graham Shaw came to me at Ronnie Scotts last two weeks ago and brought Willie back to the forefront of my mind. Please pass on my sincerest condolences to the family.

 

Billy Cobham

16 February 2014 10:58
Dear Brenda.

I learnt today of Will's death.

I first met Will - who for the first few months of our friendship, I believed was called Wally - in Devon in 1978. I was 16 and was captivated by music. And here was this guy with incredible enthusiasm and experience who was happy to talk about stuff that really mattered.

Will and I promoted a Squeeze gig in Barnstaple in 1979 when they were using Lowe East Lyn, writing their second album and I started living at Lower East Lyn in my second year of A levels when Will went on tour with Sad Cafe.
Later Jan, Mark, Lizzie the dog and I spent about three months there with folk like Simon Philips and Chris Difford popping down whilst Will was touring the middle east.

In July 80 - thanks to an introduction by Simon - Jack Bruce, Billy Cobham, Davis Sanscoius and Clem Clempson stayed writing and rehearsing what became the Jack Bruce and Friends album. It was a marvellous time.

I went back to Lower East Lyn after graduating in 1984 when Will was on the road with Chris de Burgh. Mark was by then about 7 and I remember he and his friends obsession with the first Indiana Jones movie. I think that he could recite entire chunks of the dialogue even then - he was always a very clever and lovely kid.

I moved on towards the end of that year but stayed in contact irregularly over the next twenty or so years. The last time I saw Will was in 2009 - Jan was at school - but we spent a happy couple of hours together. He had bought the house and land and had renovated it. It looked fabulous and I was delighted to see him look happy. And then time moves on - cos there is always to time to connect in the future. Or so one thinks. And last week I caught up with Billy Cobham and he asked for Will's contact details. And that search led me, tragically, to your very moving site.

A very important part of my youth is wrapped up with Will and Jan. and I deeply saddened to learn of the news.

With my thanks to you for creating such a heartfelt tribute.

Graham (Shaw).

Ziggy

 

 

 

 


 
   

Lorraine Murphy

I was shocked and saddened to learn of Wills death - so many memories - he is a great loss and, as many on this page have said before he was special  I've heard man is two men, one is awake in the darkness and the other sleeps in the light - sweet dreams old friend.  Lorraine x


Chris Difford

I would love to pay my respects to Will without him my stage might have been empty

Chris Difford x

     
   

 

Ali Hunt

Head of Fundraising

North Devon Hospice

 

Hi, I want to say thank you for setting up this page. Will was and will be an inspiration to so many people myself included. I only met Will and Jan in recent years, but what a lasting impression.

 

I had the privilege of working with him on an event that brought North Devon Hospice many accolades and a very significant income. To those who knew him on the road, it might be surprising to hear that this event was the English National Sheepdog Trials and Devon Country Fayre! The energy and commitment he brought was amazing! What he brought to the event is beyond words and whilst I always thought we would work on something else he has been taken too soon. He was a great man with a huge heart, and the sadness that we share can only balanced by the absolute privilege it was to have known him. I guess it was fitting in some way that in supporting our work as a local hospice that we were there for him and his family during the final weeks and days. I only wish it had not been so soon.

 

Will’s love of life, its challenges, his optimism , ability to keep giving, inspiring, and his love for his friends, family and recounting stories of his life was endless, and for that I have huge love and respect for a very special man and his family and friends. I count myself blessed to be counted amongst his friends.

 

Memories live on always in our hearts.