Living on an island provides a ready-made family and Trevor Baylis (Obituary, 7 March) repeatedly said it was the best move he ever made. It was with sadness that Eel Pie islanders read of his death – our very own celebrity. He was a lovely man – eccentric, yes, but never a bad word to say about anyone. In his last three years he came to us for Christmas lunch. The first year, a neighbour had to bring him because he had forgotten who had invited him. We all laughed. On another occasion at pre-Christmas lunch drinks he presented me with a handwritten list of the doctorates and awards he had received. This was not a boast, he was repeatedly surprised at his own success. Of course there was his string of risqué jokes. That was just Trevor.
The island took him to its heart and there was always someone who made sure he was safe, that he had taken his pills, walked his beloved dog, seen that he had eaten properly and not fallen into his swimming pool, which was situated precariously just inside the front door.
He talked warmly of his time with Nelson Mandela and accepted a cooked breakfast from the president with a “Don’t mind if I do”. Generous too, he has donated his classic E-type Jaguar to the new Eel Pie Island Museum along with his various inventions. On passing him on the Eel Pie Island footbridge I’d always salute and say “All present and correct, sir”. With a chuckle he’d reply “Carry on”. There was a real affection for him. We will miss him.
Eel Pie Island, Twickenham
• I knew Trevor Baylis in the 1960s and remember him as great fun. He had an old yellow open-top sports car (probably put together by him), which we all climbed in and tootled about Ealing. He drew a tree on our kitchen wall and it was so real his dog weed on it.
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