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We Have Lost A Good Friend!

Joe Rooney

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It is always difficult to lose a good friend, even more so when he is some thousands of miles away. But there is something that I promised to do several years ago, and it is now time to honour that promise.

Allan Laws, better known to many as Sw@lnalla, died Saturday, September 12th in Bedlington.

He is survived by my second last friend in Bedlington, his wife, Maria Laws, formerly of Ontario, Canada, but resident in Bedlington for several years now.

Allan had been fighting Cancer for several years, but he simply could not fight any longer.

Allan and I met when we both lived in Ontario, he lived in Barrie, and I lived in Oakville, but I enjoyed the attitudes and obvious intelligence of the man I debated with, and occasionally disagreed with, on the Bedlington forum.

One day a few years ago, I learned that he lived a mere 200km from me, and decided that I had to put a face to this man from my home town, who could raise my interest, (and sometimes Ire), with a few well thought out comments on any one of several subjects.

I called, I visited, and I was not disappointed in what I found. He was as intelligent,outspoken, and thoughtful as I had come to believe that he would be.

Like myself, he did not suffer fools gladly, nor did he hold lack of formal education to be any bar to native intelligence.

Allan was younger than myself, but we both shared the same wide range of interests, so that our visits were always too brief, and too infrequent, but always memorable.

The one person who brought balance, and contentment to his life, hard as it was, was always his wife Maria.

If she ever wondered why two grown men would be so near-obsessed with the history, and daily interests of a run down town like Bedlington,her sense of decorum never let express anything but the most supportive opinions. She left us to it, and I will always be grateful to her for her courtesey and discretion.

In 2005, a family problem concerning my youngest daughter, led my wife and I to leave Ontario, and relocate to Calgary, Alberta.

Contact between Allan and I was made somewhat more difficult by the move, but we did manage the occasional email.

I knew about his cancer, and the ailment which made it very difficult for him to follow his profession.

But the mutual, or should I say tripartite respect that we shared. lasted unshaken.

Allan's death is not an end to my respect and friendship with Allan, nor does it end my deep regard for his wife Maria. I have had a few good friends in my life, and there is no doubt that these two, are among the most treasured.

Take care Maria, and remember my name.

And forgive me Allan, but my wishes for you are as follows:

Agnus Dei, Qui tolis peccata Mundi, Dona Nobis Pacem!

Three things I have never forgotten, Being Irish, Being Catholic, and being born in Bedlington!

Go with God!

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