26th May 1942 – 19th January 2021
With thanks to the family and celebrant Phil Walder for this text and photo.
Richard Henry Payne was born in Reading to parents Leonard and Connie on Tuesday 26th May 1942 in Reading. He leaves behind four children, Melanie, Adam, Erik and Charlie and partner Joanne. He was Apprentice Warden to the Company for the last year.
Young Richard was an only child and a bright boy who attended Leighton Park School. Unlike many pupils, he loved being at school. He was a keen sportsman and particularly enjoyed Rugby – something that lasted throughout his life.
He enjoyed watching football and followed Reading, and there was clearly some sporting distinction in his family, as his grandfather had played for Liverpool. Richard enjoyed cricket and took to playing golf too in later years.
His first job was working in the testing laboratory for tea company, Brooke Bond. He met his first wife Sylvia while working at Brooke Bond, and they spent the first few years of married life living in Henley, where they had two children, Melanie and Adam. In the early eighties, Richard was offered a job with LKB in Stockholm and the family spent 4 enjoyable years experiencing life in Sweden.
Richard had become extremely interested, and developed expertise in chromatography and mass spectrometers. He was part of a management buyout of the company he worked for – which was eventually acquired by the Waters Corporation, an American scientific instrument company, for which he worked for 22 years.
By the mid-nineties, Richard was living and working in Paris. It was here he met his second wife, Ulla. They went on to have two children, Erik and Charlie.
Richard loved living and working in France and continued to excel in his career. He spoke fluent French as well as a little German and Swedish. He always enjoyed travelling and liked to spend time in the south of France, where he and Ulla bought a holiday home. It was at this house he indulged his passion for wine and spent 15 years cultivating the vineyard and producing his own wine. At the age of 63, he retired and moved to London with Ulla, the boys and Biscuit, the family Labrador. Here they settled into their new home in Notting Hill, Pembridge Villas.
Sadly, shortly after moving there, Ulla died in 2011 – a terrible blow to Richard and his sons.
Richard was a great enthusiast for life. He loved a good meal and nice wine, and as a member of the Scientific Instrument Makers Livery company, where he enjoyed some particularly good dinners.
He was introduced to Joanne and they met at The Arts Club in Dover Street – and hit it off. They both enjoyed travel and went to South Africa, the Maldives, Australia and Boston, amongst other places and loved to go to the property in the south of France, where Richard continued to make his own wine until a few year ago, but also enjoy those made by others – he was a real enthusiast and very knowledgeable about wine.
Richard was a very active man and liked to get involved in things. He was chair of the residents association – The Pembridge Association and an enthusiastic volunteer at the Clement James centre.
He and Joanne liked to go for walks in Epping Forest, which is close to her home. He loved to take his beloved dog Biscuit for walks, until she sadly died last year. Walking also gave Richard the opportunity to indulge in another of his interests, bird watching. He liked to encourage birds into the garden and put up feeders for them. He liked gardening, and during the lockdown it was something that he was able to focus on, planting an orchard at Buckhurst Hill.
Richard and Joanne liked to go to the theatre, concerts at the Royal Festival Hall and occasionally to the Royal Opera House. He enjoyed popular music and also liked traditional jazz.
Richard was always up to date with current affairs and there was never a day went by that he didn’t buy The Times and read it from cover to cover. Friend and neighbours in Notting Hill could almost set their watch by his trip to the newsagent.
Richard was someone who enjoyed life and wanted those around him to enjoy it too. He loved dinner parties and he was a great cook – a real gourmet. His fried rice was legendary and he created wonderful Sunday Roast’s.
He and Joanne enjoyed being the centre of their extended family. He enjoyed the fact that his family grew when he gained stepdaughters Danielle and Simone, and 7 grandchildren. He was a regular at their school concerts and events, rugby matches and at their birthday parties, he liked to sing Happy Birthday in his rich baritone. And every year they enjoyed an end of year holiday with the family to Tenerife. Richard was especially loved by Alice and Hugo as he was always part of their lives. Richard also took great pride in his paternal grandchildren, Eleanor and Oscar.
Richard was a big character and was strong and fit. He was a gregarious and generous man, who was proud and kind. His son summarised the comments he had received since is Father’s death. “He was humorous, selfless and inclusive, there was no pretence with Dad. He was genuinely interested in people, what they did, where they came from, he was a galvanizer, naturally unpretentious and keen to help if he could.”
If you would like to donate in memory of Richard, then please consider supporting The Clement James Centre, where he regularly volunteered.