Anthony Lewing would claim that he had a wonderful life. Born of loving parents, he grew up in the grim days of World War II, food rationing, bombing and absent fathers. Subsequently, although not of the brightest academic mind, he was educated at King’s College School Wimbledon. On joining the Army, he served in the RAOC and RAPC, retiring from the latter in the rank of Major in 1988.
In 1966, while on leave in Guildford from Aden, he met a young French Assistant, Françoise Faury, and within three weeks they had decided on marriage. This took place in the following July with a honeymoon in rain-swept Isle of Wight (much to Francoise’s disappointment. An unexpected intensification in Aden’s security situation spoiled more exotic plans). Before long, youngsters Coralie and Benjamin joined the family, along with Zorba the Beak (a budgie). Army service took them to Germany, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya and several stations in UK. In 1969 Anthony became BAOR Champion at table tennis and captained the BAOR United Services Team, being an exponent of the game wherever he went. He always joked that the highlight of his army life came with his appointment as ‘Dog Officer’ at St Omer Barracks, Aldershot, whereby he became responsible for all pets on the camp and went about armed with a doggie-scoop! He was a great animal lover, particularly his dogs.
It was after military service that, in his opinion, his life took off, mainly due to his literary leaning. Writing under the pen-names Mark Bannerman and Rowena Carter, he had some 300 short stories published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies; many stories being translated to other languages. On television he was described by interviewer Jan Leeming as ‘one of Britain’s most versatile writers’. He founded the successful Winchester Writers’ Circle and at its twenty-fifth anniversary he was invited back as guest of honour. Retirement enabled him to devote his time to novels. His successes included ‘The Cornish Woman’ and ‘The Frontiersman’ (for this he spent his resettlement-leave researching in California). Encourage by his grandfather, he grew deeply interested in the history of the American Frontier and his travels took him to that area where he gathered ideas for stories. In all, he had some 30 Western novels published and has been described as an esteemed writer in that genre.
He served as chairman of The Rushmoor Writers and taught creative writing extensively. He was also Chairman of Farnborough Neighbourcare, his local Residence Association, U3A Discussion Group etc. The teller of tall stories, he had success as an after-dinner speaker. In 2005, whilst suffering from prostate cancer, he undertook a crusade to right what he saw as an injustice within the NHS. His success, he believed, brought hope to fellow sufferers.
He left this world bright eyed and bushy tailed (at least in spirit). Prior to his death, he expressed a very big ‘thank you’ to the many (of all species) who loved and befriended him during his lifetime, and made it all such an unforgettable and wonderful experience.
He will be missed.
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