Last week I received a call from Keith to tell me that Peter Lapsley had died and I was truly saddened. Aged just 70, he died on the 3rd August and although Keith and I only spent a short time with him (he wrote the foreword to ‘Torridge Reflections’ and attended the launch as our guest when he regaled us with stories of his fascinating life) it did not take long to realise what an extraordinary man he was.
His early career was in the army and he later joined the Civil Service in a senior capacity. As a successful fly fisher and writer, many will know that he co-authored the J.R. Hartley books and was the author of several respected angling books. In addition, he was a regular contributor to ‘Fly Fishing and Fly Tying’ magazine and was actively involved as editor and in an advisory capacity to the ‘British Medical Journal’. He also wrote for and edited the ‘Flyfishers’ Journal’ and wrote a wonderful review of ‘Torridge Reflections’ which appeared in the 2013 June edition.
Previously, in the 1980’s, he became a qualified game angling instructor and went on to develop a successful complex of lakes at Rockbourne in Salisbury. In 2012, he became Honorary President of the Wandle Piscators and was actively involved in their work.
A man of great intelligence and wit, he was charming, self-effacing and a great story teller. When I asked if I could record him for the Recollections’ series, with a twinkle in his eye he replied that he couldn’t possibly recount certain of his life’s experiences and that was a great shame, for he was a fascinating raconteur. I have no doubt that he will be truly missed by all who were privileged to know him and we send our sincere condolences to his widow, Liza and family.