From Fiona Thompson


Fiona Thompson




I first heard of Fred Yates when I lived in Mevagissey as a child, during the 1970’s. He was a great friend of Don Austen, the artist, and, as Don was friends with my parents, they met Fred. They purchased several of Fred’s paintings, as we all loved his work. Many years later, in around 2000/1, I was living in Lostwithiel. I had heard that Fred had moved to the town, and had a cottage there. One day in late spring I was feeding my chickens, some fine Golden Spangled Hamburgs, in our large garden by the river, when a man walking down the lane, with a bag slung over his shoulder, carrying a canvas, stopped and said to me, “I’d like to paint you; your hair is exactly the same colour as your chickens”. Although I had never met him, I knew straight away that it was Fred Yates. After this meeting he often stopped by and we would sit in the garden with a drink, talking of all sorts of things. He was very taken with my Doberman bitch, India, and she adored him. She couldn’t care less about most people, but would sit with her head on Fred’s lap, gazing at him, while he made up stories of what they would do together. My favourite was the one where India and Fred would fly away together in a beautiful big hot air balloon and see all the countryside below. I lost touch with Fred after he moved to France; a warning that one should never put off contacting friends who have moved away. He was a very gentle man, and a gentleman. I am so honoured to have met him, and to have spent some cherished times with him. Fred was the sort of person who left a special impression, and the warmth of the man stayed with you. One day, in memory of Fred and India, both now gone from this world, I shall paint a picture of them together in a brightly coloured hot air balloon, flying high above all the fields and houses and people, looking down from the basket, waving and laughing, because they are so happy to be free.


One Response to “From Fiona Thompson”

  1. 1 Neil

    Are you the same Fiona Thompson who worked in Madeleys in the 1980s?

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