Anthony Williams was for a while my pupil at Oxford writes Lord Longford, but in recent years I have learnt more from him than I have taught him. His diplomatic sagacity and acute sense of humour combined with a rare spiritual strength to make him an exceptional personality.
His dignified bearing during the painful Falklands episode was admired by all. His total vindication caused general satisfaction, as did the knighthood that followed. Since then he has been employed by the Foreign Office on a number of delicate and important tasks.
He himself considered that the most valuable work of his life was done for the European Conference for Security and Cooperation, with its special emphasis on human rights. The Conference met in a series of European capitals. By the time they reached Bonn, Anthony, in theory no more than the British representative, but in practice the leader of the western delegations, had established a remarkable harmony where confrontation had been all too likely.
This gift for conciliation was no surprise to those who knew him well on another plane. A prayerful man, whose religious life was intensely private, he at the same time felt an immediate affinity with all who were seeking God.
He had become an accomplished artist. Our neighbour in Sussex, he recently painted a delightful picture of our home. Anthony, his distinguished and beautiful wife and their close-knit family have been among our dearest friends.
Sir Anthony (James) Williams KCMG was a member of JIM Diplomatic Service. Ile was ambassador at Phnom Penh, I 96 7-70; Minister, Rome 1973-76; Ambassador to Libyan Arab Jamahariya, 1977-79; to Argentina, 1980-82; Leader, UK Delegation to Madrid Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe 1982-83; Member of UK Delegation, UN Human Rights Committee 1984-87.
Ann Casson, the classical actress who was a Catholic, died recently, aged 74. She was the youngest daughter of Dame Sybil Thorndike and Lewis Casson. Born in 1915 she starred in many productions working with the Old Vic.
She emigrated to Canada in 1954 with her actor husband Douglas Campbell where she continued to act and appeared in several films. In the 1970s she returned to Britain, acting at the Sheffield Crucible and the Leicester Haymarket. She is survived by her husband, three sons and a daughter.
Lady Priscilla Collins, the well known publisher, died recently. She was 88 and left her mark on three decades of religious publishing. She invented the Fontana Religious Series and her dream was to present religious publications to the public at large.
She was also a loyal supporter of Teilhard de Chardin being a member of the Teilhard Society. Books published by her press included works of Teilhard de Chardin, The Good News Bible and Gospel According To Peanuts.
Fr John Farrelly, parish priest of St Bede's, Croxley Green, in the Westminster diocese died recently.
Born in Dublin in 1922 Fr Farrelly was a dedicated teacher for many years before entering the priesthood. He took early retirement and offered himself for the priesthood in the Westminster diocese. He was ordained in 1979 in St Albans.
He served in the parishes of Feltham, Northwood, Shenley and finally at Croxley Green.
Fr Bernard Fisher, formerly of the diocese of Westminster, has died. Born in 1920, Fr Fisher studied for the priesthood at St Edmund's Ware. He was ordained in the 1944 and worked in the diocese until 1972.
He was well known as an historian and his great interest and expertise was in the life and work of St Thomas More.
Fr Peter Edgar OP has died. Born in 1921, he was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and had strong connections with St Dominic's Priory there. He served in the Royal Navy for the duration of the second World War and joined the Dominican Novitiate at Woodchester, at Stroud.
ST PAUL'S Chaplaincy at 337 Oxford Road, Manchester is the venue for an evening lecture on "Chesterton and the Edwardian Age" by John D Coates on May 25 at 7.30 pm.
THE fifth annual peace pilgrimate of the Westminster Interfaith Group will take place on June 9. Full details of its route and timetable from Br Daniel Faivre or Sr Elizabeth West, 2 Church Avenue, Southall, Middlesex UB2 4DH. Tel 081 834 0690.