LETTER : A quiet afternoon with Stephen Fry

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The Independent Online
From Ms Alice Farnham

Sir: Much has been written on the subject of Stephen Fry's disappearance, and I have no desire to add my personal opinion to the pile. His fax to his theatrical agent says all we need to know ("I've been a silly old fool. Sorry", 25 February). I would, however, like to make some mention of his generosity and grace.

On Sunday 19 February, I was privileged enough to conduct Peter and the Wolf with Stephen Fry as narrator. He sat demurely on the stage (an artistic decision), and gave an understated performance, which was entirely in keeping with the work. He spent the afternoon rehearsing with us, and at the break had a quick cigarette outside as he chatted to members of the orchestra.

They all commented on his natural affability. He gave many children and adults a very happy evening, and raised a large sum for charity.

He did this for us while going through what must have been an emotional hell, but there was nothing in his gracious and professional behaviour that could have suggested this.

I have known Stephen for 20 years, which is most of my life. One of my childhood memories is of Stephen sitting at our kitchen table being Stephen. I adored him then, and I adore him now because he's just the same, and so untainted by fame.

Yours sincerely,



St Mary's, Bryanston Square

with St Mark, St Marylebone

London, W1

27 February