Heartbroken by the news that our good friend Mark has lost his battle against cancer.
I met up with him over Christmas when I was back in the UK on a short visit and had a chat with him on the phone only a couple of weeks ago.
Mark was a great character, a superb journalist and a faithful friend who was by my side during some of our most enjoyable and challenging times.
In fact, I have him to thank for helping me woo Kathryn, the woman who became my wife.
We had met in a nightspot and she cheekily agreed to go on our first date on condition I persuaded the legendary Hull Daily Mail restaurant reviewer Mark Humphries to pen a piece about her dad’s fish ’n’ chip diner in Beverley. Fortunately, he wrote a very positive review … and he ended up being my best man at our wedding!
Although I worked alongside him for a decade, I never really appreciated his literary prowess until a week after the article appeared. I was sitting in the restaurant and in marched an 18-strong party of women. They hired a mini-bus each week to check out every outlet Mark reviewed to see if they agreed with what he had written. “We love Mark Humphries,” they said.
We all loved Mark and none more so than Hull and East Yorkshire’s dining establishments. I do recall seeing a plaque outside one outlet stating ‘Egon Ronay recommended’ which was dwarfed by a massive promotional banner proclaiming ‘Mark Humphries Restaurant of the Year’. No competition really.
He visited me in Bahrain shortly after his wife died of cancer and he was very proud when he later became captain of Beverley Golf Club because it enabled him to help raise significant funds for Dove House Hospice where she had worked and under whose care she later passed away.
Years later, he found love again and recently spoke about how much he had to live for. Although struggling with the treatment, he told me about his recent holiday in Europe and the plans he had for the future.
He was a great Manchester United fan, a great golfing enthusiast, a great lover of fabulous food and fine wine, a great Mick Jagger impersonator and altogether a great man. We’ll all miss you, Mark. Legend. RIP.
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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