- Eric Williams
Left: Eric, a week before the accident,
in his Robin Reliant
From Chris Ratcliffe
Saturday, 3 March 2007
I was shocked to learn yesterday evening that my old friend, Eric has been killed (Thursday evening) in a car crash near his home in France. It was a head-on collision, one occupant of the other car is in hospital; the other in jail. Eric was driving his three wheeled Robin Reliant, a vehicle he has famously driven for many years.
Eric and I both first moved to Hebden Bridge in the same month; May 1975, and we both occupied terraced houses as part of the Queens Terrace Squat until we were evicted in late 1976. In the summers we would go to the free festivals, and I have good memories of our encampment in the woods at an early Stonehenge Festival; Eric forever making much needed cups of tea over the open fire and playing some of the lesser known Donovan songs on his guitar.
For the whole time I knew him, Eric practised transcendental mediation, and was important in influencing many of our friends to take up meditation. It would be easy to attribute his laid-back way of life on the meditation but maybe the meditation gave him the wisdom to realise he did not want to be part of the rat race, the ever increasing pace of modern life. But laid back he was.
Eric worked as a carpenter, and a couple of years ago did some work in our kitchen. If we were lucky, he would arrive by about 1pm and would then work right through till around five or six; stopping only for rollups and cups of tea. When we joked about his half day routine, he told us that in a previous job they had nicknamed him "Eric, the half a day" after Monty Python's "Eric, the half a bee"
If anywhere was home to Eric, it was probably Hebden Bridge; he lived here for many years, and returned regularly. Recently, he had been living in France. He was one of the many colourful characters who moved here in the seventies, when houses were being knocked down because they said no-one wanted to live in them. With house prices as they are now, Eric could never have afforded to move back. We are a poorer place without the likes of Eric.
I can't believe he will no longer be around to chat about the good times we used have.
Taken in '97 when his sister Val got her MBE. Not visible in this photo of Eric in the Limo, but he was wearing his normal jeans to go with the rather out of character attire.