Tributes to Leigh Jones

Leigh Jones
Leigh, with his wife Ann

We bring sad news of the passing of Leigh Jones on 3 November. He was an active and much valued member of The Poetry Society as well as the Clapham Original Poets. He was also a regular reader at the monthly [email protected] open mic sessions at the Poetry Cafe, where he was affectionately known as ‘The Jones Boy’.

Leigh’s funeral will take place on Wednesday 22 November at 1.15pm at Randalls Park Crematorium, Randalls Park Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 0AG. No flowers, by request but donations may be made to the Princess Alice Hospice via the funeral directors: Lodge Brothers, Waynflete House, 78 High Street, Esher, Surrey KT10 9QS. Tel 01372 463903 or [email protected] Leigh requested that those attending wear bright colours, certainly not black ties. After the service there will be a buffet reception at The Hare and Hounds, The Green, Claygate, Surrey KT10 0JL.

Tributes have been made by Leigh’s fellow poets, and if you would also like to pay tribute, please email membership @ poetrysociety.org.uk.

Tessa Lang, Clapham Originals Stanza rep:

“I am grateful for Leigh, a genial and generous presence within the Clapham Originals and beyond. Talented in both craft and performance, I remember most his carefully observed, winsomely expressed and often mischievous delight in being alive. A first memory is the time he read a poem entitled ‘Tousled Sheets’, in which the amorous poet climbs ‘…the ivy spider-covered wall’; Leigh met his recent mortal challenges with equivalent gusto and pleasure in his practice of poetry. We shall miss him.”

Ronnie Tumelty:

“I was saddened to read of Leigh’s death. He was a gifted and warm-hearted person.”

Steve Hoy:

“I met Leigh through the Clapham Originals. One summer a couple of years ago I went along with Leigh to a [email protected] session. He was a regular at that time. He was going to the Proms afterwards and so had a few hours to spare. So we spent a few very enjoyable hours over a couple of pints, talking about real ale, music, poetry and football – especially the uncanny ability of our clubs, Crystal Palace and Chester City – to maintain losing streaks. I envied his big voice and his presence on stage and I loved his poems; especially the ones about the irrationality of football fans, young love and the sea. I will miss him. We never did manage that second leg. “

Laura Collins:

“Leigh was a fine poet and a lovely soul with a great sense of humour. He will be missed. A shining star. May he RIP. God bless him.”

Mark Fiddes

“There was always something wistful and often cheeky about his poems.”

Claire Booker:

“I loved Leigh’s warmth and humanity – that twinkle in the eye, which was never malicious. His fine poetry and generous feedback helped make the Clapham Stanza Group such a fun place to be. And when calamity struck, he showed incredible courage and positivity. The world is a lesser place without his gentleness and sparkling smile.  But let Leigh speak through his own poetry…

“We walked through pea-shoot fields,
The smell of earth and wild mint,
The heat of noon,
The chime of a distant bell . . .

Until we stopped
Desperate for shade
In an inconsequential grove,
And melted into the clay and stone.”

(first and final verse of ‘Montelupo Heat’ by Leigh Jones published in Originally of Clapham anthology, 2014.)

Hilaire:

“Leigh was warm, funny and generous. His feedback at our Clapham Original Poets meetings was always thoughtful and encouraging. I remember too the poem he brought to our January meeting, in memory of Leonard Cohen, made out of Cohen lyrics and song titles, which was both witty and touching. ‘HEY that’s no way to say/goodbye.’ We’ll miss him sorely.”

Joel Uden:

“Leigh had a delicate playfulness in his poetry that belied the poignance and impact of the themes and messages conveyed within. A charming man, a real gentleman, and a gifted writer. It was an enlightening pleasure to have met him and heard him give voice to his work, ‘Chapeau’.”

Peter Ebsworth:

“Leigh was always friendly and optimistic. He will be very much missed.”

Anne Macaulay:

“He was always such a cheery person who was a vital part of [email protected]

Patric Cunnane:

“I’m so sorry to hear this sad news. Leigh was a lovely guy and made many fine contributions to [email protected] I last saw him earlier this year when the event was still in the church. We enjoyed a good natter and he seemed on excellent form. We will all miss him.”

Angela Croft:

“Leigh was such a presence at [email protected] and will be greatly missed. I’m shocked as he always seemed so cheerful.”

Isabel Bermudez

“I remember Leigh with affection. A kind, twinkly man, who was a lot of fun to be around. He was a highlight of [email protected] and will be greatly missed.”

Danuta Dagair

It’s sad news, because Leigh Jones was the first English poet I spoke to at the Poetry Cafe in 2013, when for the first time I visited that place. After that I saw him there many times and listened to his poems. Now, when he is no longer among us, I’d like to cite a beautiful and so true, verse from a poem of a Polish poet and catholic priest, J. Twardowski, which says: “Let’s hurry to love people, they pass away so quickly.”

Ruth Smith

“I was sad to hear that Leigh is no longer with us. I remember him as a  genial, friendly person and a very enthusiastic and thoughtful poet. Condolences to the family.”

 13 November 2017