I'm feeling pretty low this evening.
It has just been announced by the BBC that Lord Richard Livsey of Talgarth has passed away peacefully, aged 75.
Its come as a complete shock. Only 2 months ago I was having a drink with Richard, his successor as MP for Brecon & Radnor, Roger Williams and Mark Williams on the Terrace of the House of Commons with my mother on our visit to London to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. Richard was on such great form and as ever, just great company.
A Liberal Giant
A true champion of rural Wales, Richard was an MP between 1985 after his famous by-election win and 1992 and again from 1997-2001 when he retired and went to the Lords. He was Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats on 2 occasions during this period and in 1997 he was at the forefront of the campaign for a 'Yes' vote in the referendum for an Assembly for Wales.
A Real Gentleman
But what I will always remember of Richard, as I became an active member of the Welsh party just after he retired from the Commons, was of a lovely gentleman who was liked by everyone who knew him. His popularity spread across party political lines because he was a genuine human being.
You could not, not like Richard Livsey. He was very simply, a gentle giant and a 'good' person.
A Liberal Loss
It so happens that Richard has left us on the eve of our Federal Conference in Liverpool. I was looking forward to going and seeing him again and though I will indeed enjoy the week, it won't be the same. I knew Richard reasonably well as he was a good friend to us in Ceredigion, but certainly not as well as many of my older colleagues. I'm going to miss him - those who knew him better are really going to feel his loss. Conference will be that bit sadder without him.
We've lost one of the good guys today.
RIP Richard Livsey