Obituary: Sian Thomas
Tuesday 06 July 1993
SIAN THOMAS was first introduced to me by a television producer I had approached about a film on Bulgarian music, writes Joe Boyd. The film was never made, but Sian lived up to her billing as an expert enthusiast on Eastern Europe. She accompanied me at her own expense to the Koperivshtitsa Festival in Bulgaria in 1986 and her fluent Russian and contacts were instrumental in establishing a relationship with Bulgaria which has produced numerous discs and concert tours since then.
I was dazzled by her adventurousness and enthusiasm and willingness to take risks. Nominally a hard-working graphic designer, she would put her job aside to work on any film project in what was fast ceasing to be the Soviet Union. Her adventures while making Red Empire included being run out of Uzbekistan by the KGB, while a documentary on the Moscow police had her venturing permit-less into areas of Moldova still closed to foreigners.
I attended her fairy-tale wedding to a Russian film-maker in 1991. It took eight hours to make and eat three courses (due to the shortage of crockery) and the Welsh/Russian army of guests wandered dreamlike in and out of the woods outside Moscow like the cast of a play. Russians were fascinated by her and her fluent grasp of their language. She settled into a life in Moscow constantly interrupted by adventures: to Astrakhan to make a documentary about caviar for the BBC; to St Petersburg for the highly praised Letter from St Petersburg on Channel 4 during the winter of 1991-92; and finally to China to start the bicycle journey that led to her death.
She gave and asked freely. As I was leaving for Moscow last December, I rang to ask her what she needed. 'An aluminium sink]' she demanded. It was duly produced and the champagne, caviar and blinis were brought out in celebration.
The legendary human rights activist, OBE, started her 70 year career working with Holocaust survivors. Colin Firth & Emma Thompson pay tribute
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...
£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...
£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...