In memory of Tony Kane
After 21 years of writing The Eye column, Tony Kane, aka my Dad, passed away at the end of last year after putting up one of the best fights with cancer I’ve witnessed, worthy of a superhero.
When he retired from a distinguished career in teaching, instead of reclining on a cruise ship or pottering in the garden with the grandkids, he exhibited the energy of a young college graduate as he started a brand new venture in publishing and launched Time & Leisure – the arts in Wimbledon magazine.
When I stepped in to help a year or so later, I witnessed Dad exercising one of his finest super powers – his ability to enthuse people with his passion, and inspire them to contribute their skills, usually for the better good. Monthly editorial meetings included large quantities of red wine and goodwill as we planned future editions long into the evening from the table in the front room of my parents’ house.
His love and dedication to the arts in Wimbledon fuelled his superhero strength to champion many new ventures during his ‘retirement’. In 2007 our editorial team, Tony and Fiona founded Wimbledon BookFest. It was the perfect synergy with the magazine and inspired even more great local arts festivals such as Wimbledon Music festival and Merton Arts festival.
The arts were the source of his super powers, he saw how they invigorate communities, bring people together, develop creativity to encourage free and independent thinking. And he has left a lasting legacy in Wimbledon that has touched and enhanced the lives of many.
Dedicated to the end, he wrote and illustrated the January Eye editorial in the last weeks of his life, with my mum, subject of many an Eye fable, helping him with the watercolour paints.
The Eye has many faithful readers, and a dear friend of Tony’s recently expressed her enjoyment to me of her favourite monthly read, requesting we continue it in respect of Tony. An almost impossible task to replicate the charm, wit and passion of a seasoned editor, so I’ve compiled some guidance to future contributors…
Whilst I have been running the company for over 15 years now, the magazine has changed and grown enormously since Dad started it, but I can honestly say that it won’t be the same without him. He offered a quality that is hard to replicate, a connection with people that is rare, and brought communities together through his pioneering vision.
In the last months of his life he displayed legendary super strength, battling cancer with positivity: judging our Barnes Fair photo competition with a chemo pack over his shoulder, attending BookFest much to the team’s joy, putting on art exhibitions, and still representing the views of Wimbledon residents. All whilst receiving a vast array of guests who came to visit and celebrate his 80th birthday.
And while we celebrate the life of this superhero of the arts, loved and respected by many, I would like to ask you to take a moment to think of Maggie, my mum. An unsung super woman, who enabled him to realise his dreams, taking care of him at home and held his hand throughout his life until the very last moment.
“This is the story of my two favourite superheroes.”
Thank you to everyone who has generously donated in Tony’s memory to his chosen charities, St Raphael’s Hospice and Medecins sans Frontieres. If you’d like to donate: St Raphael’s Hospice www.straphaels.org.uk
MD, Time & Leisure magazine
Follow me on twitter: @lucykane