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Miss Audrey Barker, author, 80; Mr Stephen Byers MP, Minister for School Standards, 45; Air Vice-Marshal Sir Bernard Chacksfield, 85; Mr Frank Chamberlain, former Chairman, Test and County Cricket Board, 73; The Hon Alan Clark MP, 70; The Right Rev Roderic Coote, former Bishop of Colchester, 83; Mr Liam Cosgrave, former leader of the Fine Gael party, 78; Lord Davidson, a former Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland, 69; Mr Peter Davison, actor, 47; Mr Stanley Donen, film director and producer, 74; Mr Edward Fox, actor, 61; Professor Albert Halsey, sociologist, 75; Sir Jeremiah Harman, High Court judge, 68; Air Marshal Sir Kenneth Hayr, former Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, Ministry of Defence, 63; Mr Seamus Heaney, poet, 59; Sir Peter Heap, former ambassador to Brazil, 63; Mr Garry Kasparov, chess champion, 35; Mr Howard Keel, singer and actor, 79; Mr Jonjo O'Neill, racehorse trainer, 46; Dame Margaret Price, operatic singer, 57; Sir Stephen Roberts, former Chairman, Milk Marketing Board, 83; Miss Barbara Roche MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Trade and Industry, 44; Mr Christopher Strauli, actor, 52; Mr John Swinney MP, 34; Lord Wedderburn of Charlton, Professor Emeritus of Commercial Law, LSE, 71; Miss Eudora Welty, novelist, 89; Sir John Weston, UK Permanent Representative to Nato, 60; Lt-Gen Sir James Wilson, former Chief Executive, Tobacco Advisory Council, 77; Miss Marjorie Yates, actress, 57.


Births: Frank Winfield Woolworth, chain-store pioneer, 1852; John Gerard Braine, novelist, 1922. Deaths: Jean de La Fontaine, fabulist, 1695; Travers Christmas Humphreys, judge, 1983. On this day: Handel's Messiah was first performed, 1742; the Royal Flying Corps was constituted by Royal Warrant, 1912. Today is the Feast Day of Saints Agathonice, Carpus, and Papylus, St Guinoch, St Hermenegild, St Martin I, pope and St Martius or Mars. It is also the first day of the Sikh New Year.