Obituary: Rowland Hilder

MAY I, as the present General Secretary of the Fellowship Party, add a few words to the obituary of Rowland Hilder (by Denis Thomas, 22 April)? writes Ronald Mallone.

I did not meet him until after the Blackheath by-election, when Rowland and Edith Hilder (who were pacifists) joined the party, although I had long enjoyed Rowland's fine paintings. With characteristic generosity, he offered his studio for monthly party meetings and in these, while playing an active part in proceedings, he sketched people and objects.

Broadminded, classless, modest and generous and with a keen sense of humour, he radiated friendship. His conversation was rich in range and depth, embracing cricket, Communism, race, peace-making and every aspect of constructive politics. He succeeded Donald Swann as President of the Fellowship Party, a post he filled during the 1980s, with deftness and great humanity. In his final years, his eyesight declined, forcing him to give up his beloved reading, and he had to adapt his painting technique.

When I last saw him in January, he had begun a new painting that day and inquired anxiously about prospects for world peace.