About this site

This is a site to commemorate the life of Ian Willmore. 

It contains great stories, tributes, photos and music in memory of Ian.

If you would like to add anything, please make comments below, or, if you want to share pictures and longer memories, please send them by email to Ian@kathyj.com and we will put them up.

Thank you in anticipation.


11 thoughts on “About this site

  1. I’m a bit lost for words. And a bit like Ian, that is a rare thing when it comes to commenting on the world. I am really shocked and deeply saddened at his passing. As a much younger cousin, Ian was always a bit of an enigma to me. My earliest memories of him were visiting the Willmore home in Hartley Wintney every Christmas. I would swim and play with Stephen whilst, I was aware of Ian, a shadowy figure tinkling on the piano, playing chess, reading books or having proper conversations with the grown ups. I was told he was very smart and political and in later life I understood that for myself. I went many years not seeing Ian but knew of his life’s journey via my mum, and his mum, my Aunty Anne. I heard of his time with the Civil Service and working for Friends of the Earth and Ash. It gave me a sense of a man of strong principles, ideals and a person who would relish a debate. I see those same values in the rest of the family and indeed in myself. I was lucky to have the chance to meet and talk with Ian again in recent years. I was intrigued to find out more about my childhood enigma. What I discovered was a very warm, engaging and witty person. He gave me some excellent tips on Ken Burns documentaries to watch on Netflix, some wonderful music to listen to and we both talked about our mums and the privilege but huge challenge of giving Eulogies to our beloved mums. I am glad I got to know the real Ian, someone who clearly was a massive part of many fortunate peoples lives. I wish I had more time to have got to know him as I am sure I would have learnt a lot, laughed a lot, and appreciated what a wonderful cousin I had. Wherever Ian is now I know he will be comfortable in his own skin and putting the world to right. Rest in Peace, a wonderful man. He was an enigma, a lovely person, and the world needs more like him.

  2. A man of extraordinary talent and wit with incredible political foresight and sharp, trouble-making instinct. I have so many memories of working with Ian when he was at Friends of the Earth. I learnt a lot from him about how to spot a political story and was amazed at his ability to write a word-perfect press release in the midst of the chaos of breaking news. Many years later and I still try to copy him. I look back with fond memories of the parties where he was playing the grand piano and singing. Good times. Rest in Power Ian.

  3. So sorry to hear that Ian had died. I worked with Ian at FOE where he re-wrote my draft press releases with great skill, and humour. He made me laugh a lot! He will be greatly missed and the rest of us will find it hard to match his work to protect people and the planet.

  4. I couldn’t believe it when Kathy told me that Ian had died. He was primarily a friend of my big sister Rachel (Brooks) so I didn’t know him terribly well but I was always very fond of him and impressed by his tremendous intellectual and his determination to look out for other people. Knowing that my father was a jazz fan he recorded compilations of well selected songs by Billy Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone etc for him to listen to. He had a fascination with the song “Stand by me” and was delighted when I told him that I had a version in Cantonese!!! (I used to live in Hong Kong). I hadn’t actually seen Ian since 2011 when he was looking very well and extremely trim (he had been diagnosed with diabetes). I will miss him.

  5. Dearest Oliver,
    Your news was heart-breaking. There can surely be no greater pain than the loss of a child.
    Although we met Ian less often than Paula, Michael and the others, the reports from you and Anne enabled us to followed his illustrious career. I remember our first meeting when he explained to an oik like me that the Oxford Union was a debating society, not a conventional student union. We joined you at a hustings when he campaigned for a parliamentary seat, somewhere in Kent
    We were excited by inside information on the shenanigans at Harringay.
    He was a fearless and tireless campaigner for liberal causes and honest government. We remember his work at Ash and Friends of the Earth, and somewhere in there his time as a Trade Union aid.
    But our lasting attachment will be to his musical legacy. We have a copy of his debut album – Willmore Warbles – which we will play while we raise a glass to his life and memory.

    We are living through distressing times and our hearts go out to you and the rest of the family having to bear this additional suffering. When we are allowed out again we look forward to sharing hugs and hope.

  6. Ian and I were friends at university and fellow members of the Labour Club. Although we lost touch after that, I never forgot his intelligence, humour and integrity and I watched and listened to him from afar. In recent years, we got back in touch on Facebook. He joined a Facebook music group I belong to and his posts were characteristically interesting. He also sent me his music, which I loved and which is particularly poignant after his passing. We messaged each other regularly and he strongly advised me to stop going into London before lockdown. I hoped we could meet up when life returned to normal, but it was never to be. My condolences to Ian’s family and friends.

  7. Hello, I am a huge fan of Ian’s intellect and writing. I’ve always wondered what books and authors Ian read? Particularly political books and thinkers he admired or studied – this will be invaluable for students and writers.

    1. Thanks for this comment and apologies for taking so long to approve it. The simple answer to your question is that he didn’t study particular thinkers and writers. Instead he read “anything and everything”: he was voracious in his reading. And sometimes it might seem indiscriminate. He read many newspapers thoroughly and he bought magazines like the Spectator and New Statesman, the Times Literary Supplement and New York Review of Books. These are good ways of knowing what is being said about current topics and also getting an idea of what’s in the important books that are coming out. More recently he’d be getting this material online and listening to podcasts that did much the same thing.

      On subjects that he wanted to explore more deeply (such as chess and the American Civil war or Irish history) he would buy every book he could lay his hands on.

      He hardly ever read fiction.

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