I’m going to revisit something I posted a little over a month ago mentioning the renowned education journalist and former BBC correspondent Mike Baker.
I photographed him as he was chairing an event I was at. He looked the very picture of health, charm and bonhomie.
Well, he wasn’t. Now that he himself has gone public with it, I can say that - although none of us knew at the time - Mike, who has never smoked and always kept very fit, running and cycling, was about to be diagnosed with lung cancer when these pictures were taken.
You wouldn’t wish such a condition on anyone, obviously - but good grief, Mike Baker?! Everyone who knows and loves him (and they are many) is shocked and wishes him the very best as he goes into treatment - which I must say he seems to be tackling with all the courage, intelligence, thoroughness and indeed self-deprecating humour (what can chemo do to his hair that nature wasn’t already?) that make him the splendid person he is.
A year ago I was also ending a long and far less distinguished career with the BBC (latterly also as an education correspondent) to seize the very lucky opportunity to spend more time with those I love and doing the things I love. Mike’s predicament is one of those cold wet slaps in the face that remind us why that is always the right thing to do.