None of us at the ‘Sea Spray’ knew Lance’s identity. To us, he was an artist. He was out painting his watercolours en plein air most days.
At Christmas he became very ill with bronchitis. He would joke that he wasn’t sure if he’d see us again. He was worried he might not make it. We were all worried about him. However, he recovered, and was back to his daily routine in early January.
He seemed to have a very Tolstoyan character, and view of the world. He was ascetic, frugal, almost monk-like, and passionate about his charity: Soul of Africa. Beyond that, we had no idea what kind of work he had been involved in throughout his life. However, he seemed to know a great deal about shoes – and shoe-making.
Then, one day, he gave me his e-mail address, with his surname, and I guessed that he must be a scion of the Clarks footware brand. Suddenly, his references to Quakerism, and his passion for charity work, and knowledge of shoes – all made sense. I decided to keep his identity to myself . He was a very private and modest man.