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Kevin Lawrence Hand
1951 - 2016
On Wednesday, 14th September, 2016 at 11:30am a service of thanksgiving for the life of Kevin Hand was held at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street.
The Revd Canon Dr Alison Joyce delivered the bidding:-
We are here to honour the memory and to celebrate the life of Kevin Hand, a leading figure in his professional world, whose life was cut short at a time when he still had so much to live for and so much to give.
As we remember him today, we give thanks for a man of immense charisma and strength of character; a man who earned the respect of colleagues and rivals alike; man of vision, energy and enthusiasm; an inspirational leader. A man who demanded the very best from those around him; but who also inspired them to give of their best.
We give thanks, too, for a man with a wonderful sense of fun, with a deep love for his family: we remember a much loved husband, father, grandfather, brother, colleague and friend. We remember a man with the most wonderful smile.
So in a moment of silence, let us call to mind our own memories of Kevin, giving thanks for all that he has meant to us, and for all that he was.
Michael Soutar, Chairman, Shortlist Media
Kevin Lawrence Hand was born on July 22nd 1951. He was the middle son of “Old Kevin” and Margaret, who was fondly known to all as Peg.
The Hand family lived in Leicester and Kevin’s dad worked for British Rail. Kevin went to De Lisle, a school in Loughborough. He was bright and did well academically, even getting an A for French (perhaps a sign of things to come). His teacher wrote: “A surprising result for such a lazy, dirty boy”. Peg was straight down to the school. “How dare you call him dirty?” she demanded to know.
Kevin showed a creative turn of mind from an early age. As a young boy he invented a football game which he played with his brother, Denis, in their front room. Goals were made from shoe boxes cut in half, football players were represented by Bubble Gum cards and the ball was a red poppet stolen from Peg’s necklace. “We made draws for the FA Cup and ran leagues and had many hours of fun,” says Denis.
Kevin studied art and technical drawing at Leicester Polytechnic, where he met his first wife Joanne. They married in December 1973 and had two daughters, Emily and Jessica.
During college Kevin had various casual jobs – dustman and road sweeper to name two - but his first proper job was marketing manager for a specialist magazine publisher. He once ordered a huge container of stamps from abroad to use as covermounts to boost sales of Stamp magazine. Unfortunately the ship sank on the way, scuppering his marketing innovation.
Kevin and Fiona met at Emap and after a couple of years together they got married on August 6th 1988. Fiona took care of all the arrangements with the exception of booking a wedding photographer, which she left to Kevin.
On the wedding day, as photographs were being taken of the happy couple, one of the guests shouted: “Hold her up by the ankles, Kev!” Everyone laughed and Fiona wondered what was going on. It was only later Kevin admitted that he’d forgotten and - at the last minute - he’d booked Billy The Fish, the staff photographer from the Angling Times.
In April 1989 Didi Mae was born, and Joccoaa came into the world in April 1991. While Fiona was on maternity leave, the family moved to Paris for six months as Kevin built his network of contacts there.
They returned to England in late 1991. Kevin ran a large publishing division of Emap and Fiona was made Managing Director of the Peterborough Evening Telegraph. In the role Fiona was Mrs Peterborough, which of course made Kevin Mr Peterborough. And in that capacity he would find himself at some rather dull awards and functions, making small talk with owners of car dealerships. Salvation from boredom came in the form of Bill Westwood, father of DJ Tim and the Bishop of Peterborough. Kevin and Bishop Bill found they had much in common, in particular a fondness for fine red wine.
In the summer of 1993 the family moved back to Paris as Kevin masterminded one of the biggest and most audacious mergers in French publishing history. Kevin always said he was not a natural at languages but he worked hard to master them. He never took a novel on holiday. Instead he would sit on his sun lounger for three hours a day studying his book of “1,001 French Verbs”. He used to practice enunciation with Didi and Joccoa who still remember the phrase: “Eustache porte une moustache”
Kevin and Fiona mixed with the European elite and on one memorable occasion were invited to a gala dinner in Valencia. All the tables had place settings. Kevin went round before and changed them so that he had the evening chatting to Elle McPherson. Fiona spent a very uncomfortable few hours with the head of LVMH who had obviously been told he was going to sit next to Elle and couldn’t understand what had happened. Kevin went around for the next few months telling everyone that he couldn’t guarantee his plans “because Elle might call”.
After five years in Paris the Hands returned to the UK. Their house in Old Brompton Road soon became a magnet for friends and especially young people who needed a place to stay while they tried to make their way in London. Kevin would generously welcome anyone in and the stories are legion of people who would come for a week but stay for months.
For all his success in business Kevin was first and foremost a family man. He was so proud of his four daughters and of his grandchildren Sebastian, Madeleine, Gabriel, Edie and Freddy. His daughter Emily says none of his daughters loved rugby like he did, so he was delighted when she had his first grandson Sebastian. At three months he held Seb through a whole rugby match, insisting they were watching it together.
In 2010 Didi was seriously injured in a road accident. As part of her recovery programme she was determined to run the London Marathon. So Kevin promised he would do it with her. He spoke to someone on Runners World magazine who pulled strings and somehow secured a place for him. He was 58 and only had 8 weeks to train so despite being very fit for his age the last few miles were a struggle. As he and Didi ran spectators called his name in encouragement. He lapped it up and waved back. There’s a brilliant photo in a family album of the two of them triumphantly crossing the line, holding hands.
Kevin was diagnosed with cancer in the second week of February this year. He had an appointment at the Royal Marsden so he knew it might not be good news. He put on his suit and tie, Fiona put on a smart dress and they walked there. Fiona says: “We did what we’ve always done and faced it together. Afterwards we walked back trying to take it all in and called into the Joseph shop. Kevin bought a new shirt and said ‘Well at least I don’t have to worry about buying new shoes’. He was a very courageous man.”
As you’ve heard, Kevin loved sport. He played golf, he jogged, he did triathlons and he went on epic cycling holidays.
But perhaps his biggest sporting passion was Leicester City. He first saw the Foxes in the FA Cup in 1963 and he was so proud of their incredible rise to the top of the league last season. Sadly, Kevin didn’t live to see them fulfill the unlikely dream of lifting the Premier League trophy in May… but I can imagine he hosted one heck of a party in Heaven that night.
Didi Mae Hand & Joccoaa Hand
Hello everyone, wow what a lot of you there are – thank you to each and everyone of you for making the effort to be here today. We know it would have meant so much to our dad.
We just wanted to get up and say a few words about Popa, which will be all the poorer for him not having proofread them first.
To a lot of you popa was a great friend, an esteemed colleague, a cherished uncle, a beloved little brother and to mum everything - a loving husband of 28 years, a partner in crime, a companion to travel the world with and the most skilled of dance partners.
To his four daughters, he was just Popa – our biggest supporter, sometimes our harshest critic but always our greatest ally in everything we did. Whether it be celebrating the arrival of his grandchildren, running the marathon, hurtling behind us down mountains on skis or on bikes or donning a tuxedo or fancy dress for yet another birthday party.
I remember one evening, papa came home and I was laying upside down on the stairs, defeated by my year 9 art homework- sketch a bowl of fruit from life. ‘Don’t be ridiculous he said, come here, snatching the pad from my hands he completed the assignment for me. Smudged apple, shaded grapes… I never had the heart to tell him I got a B; minus.
A few years back Papa and I got arrested in the Congo in what can only really be described as one of the more colourful chapters of my life. The following month, I showed him a copy of my research dissertation. Paragraph one, sentence one, word 7 he pointed out a typo. I was devastated –and to be honest a bit miffed, but instead of leaving me to it, we sat up till two am proof reading and re-writing, and at six am he badgered the printers to open so that I could still hand it in on time.
This Christmas, in Sedona the three of us went mountain biking. I was… not great… Papa in his full cycling gear offered to man the rear with the wise old apache man; George. I went down the hill at full speed and my wheel hit a tree root- snout in the mud I looked up at him- both clearly unsure about the next 30km of this we’d just signed up for. ‘I’ll hang back with you shall I- just to keep you company’.
If you weren’t great at something, he’d step into try to help, if you were good, well you basked in the glory together, you were his child after all, and if you were both terrible, well he was only pretending to be to keep you company.
He taught us to be brave, he taught us to be strong, to never be afraid of failure but to always pick ourselves back up again. It was with this mantra in mind that he threw himself into life and into his hobbies – of which there were many.
A successful CEO, a wonderful father, a talented linguist, an avid cyclist and a true master of The Times crossword.
There were several hobbies which proved little more challenging - a frustrated golfer, a reckless inflatable boat captain, a never-fully qualified motorcyclist but he was always the undefeated master of the holiday inflatables.
Something we can all take away from this is that there is rarely success without failure, and that sometimes the greatest joy in life lies in the trying. As Popa always used to say, ‘nothing is ever as good or as bad as it first seems’ – take life by the horns and put in the hard yakka- we’ve got our tanks parked on their lawns after all.
Many of you here today would have enjoyed his wicked wit and boundless charm - he loved nothing more than sharing a glass of fine wine with friends and colleagues- as long as it was before 9pm.
Thank you to everyone who has made the effort to be here today, we know many of you have travelled from across the UK and from Europe.
We’d like to thank Barry and the PPA for putting on this amazing service, Trinity Hospice for the care they offered our father and most of all we’d like to thank everyone here today; colleagues, friends and family who shared such wonderful times with him.
Even though his passing leaves a great hole in many people’s lives, we can all take great comfort in the knowledge that he always lived life to the fullest with a hat for every occasion.
And to the four of us, he will always be our fellow fang warrior, our hero, our Popa.
Barry McIlheney, Chief Executive, PPA
Kevin would have loved this.
The whole tribe gathered together in his honour, all the old familiar faces back together again for one day only, and even a few drinks to follow on from this beautiful service of thanksgiving here at St. Bride's, the journalists' church. It is just perfect, and thank you all for coming along and being a part of it here today.
Kevin, though not a particularly religious man, did always enjoy his annual visit here to St. Bride's for our industry's carol service. And in typical Kevin fashion, his approach to singing was all about the gusto and the passion rather than necessarily singing the words or indeed the tune that the rest of us happened to be singing at the same time.
So each year at the carol service here I would desperately try to avoid Fiona's eyes, or she mine, for fear one of us would start corpsing in the middle of church at the very strange sound of our then Chairman merrily wailing away to his own particular beat. Similarly, we all know don't we that when we get to the Glory Glory Hallelujah part of our closing hymn today, that a certain son of the East Midlands would have been singing, sotto voce, or not so sotto voce in fact, a slightly different version of that chorus featuring the words Leicester City. Indeed, he would be very disappointed if Stanley Glazer and Dave Hepworth were not privately at least doing the same with Tottenham Hotspur, some of you with Man United, and so on.
Kevin's love of Leicester City has already been mentioned here today, but I got a real insight into the extreme level of his passion for the mighty Foxes when talking to Seamus Geogehan recently about the night a few years ago when Leicester came to play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The away side took what was back then an unlikely lead much to the consternation of the home fans, who suddenly spotted a lone City supporter taunting them from the corporate boxes. Who wants some - expletives deleted, we're in church - who wants some shouted this brave foolish soul, arms outstretched, egging on the sea of incensed Chelsea supporters. Oh my God, said Seamus, it's the Chairman of the PPA.
Kevin was Chairman of our association from 2012 through to 2014, and it was during this period that I got to renew my friendship and working life with him, a relationship that had started all of 30 years ago when he was running the consumer magazine division of emap and I was the then freshly-minted Editor of Smash Hits. I had obviously got to know him well over those formative years, but I had not seen a great deal of him in the years leading up to his PPA appointment, and, believe it or not, I had forgotten to some extent what he was like. Out first reunion meeting went like this.
So Baz - he never once called me Barry in our 30 years together - so Baz, for the PPA to WIN, who has to LOSE? I was initially flummoxed by this - I know, I should have known better - so I burbled something about how it's not really like that here Kevin, we all pull together and it's for the greater good and No no no you don't understand me, Baz for the PPA to WIN, who has to LOSE? This central theme of winning was something I wrote about just after Kevin died, and I don't think I have ever met a man who enjoyed it quite so much. Luckily for all of us he certainly won a lot more games than he ever came second in. Equally, he could be brutal if he felt that the prize being played for was not even worth winning in the first place. Two bald men fighting over a comb would be his withering verdict, or, even worse, that's nothin' more than a tallest dwarf competition.
Just a few months after that initial reunion, we were invited along to a top media dinner, at which Kevin and I were sat either side of Bruce Daisley, now of course UK boss of Twitter, or TwittAH as Kevin called it, but back in the day someone at emap for whom Kevin would have been a few arms removed as his boss's boss's boss. Bruce I could see was looking forward to a pleasant stroll down memory lane but you know and I know what was coming as Kevin settled into his chair and the interrogation began. So. Bruce. For Twittah to WIN, who has to LOSE? Poor old Bruce started at me helplessly but I'm afraid there was to be no escape. I like to think Kevin has now gone upstairs and I actually pity poor Peter at the Pearly Gates. So. Petah. For God to WIN, and so on.
Back in that terrible week in April when news of Kevin's shocking and sudden death began to spread around our industry, there were two crumbs of comfort which I clung on to. One was being asked to write a tribute to him, a tribute which a lot of people helped me with and which therefore hopefully came close to capturing the essence of this unique individual, an individual who clearly had a profound effect upon a whole host of people throughout our industry and beyond.
As a writer, you always know when some particular passage has hit the spot as people start to quote it back to you - believe me it doesn't happen that often - and this is what has happened with this particular passage. Some of you folk even said that you could actually hear the man when you read this bit, so do close your eyes if you like ladies and gentlemen, and listen to those dulcet tones one last time. And I quote:
"Throughout this period at emap, Kevin developed a set of catchphrases that are forever embedded in the minds of all who worked for him. The beatings shall continue until morale improves. We have got our tanks parked on their lawn. You don't get a dog and bark yourself. That issue is so full of ads it could choke a donkey. You've got the wrong dog in the wrong box with that fella. You've always got to put in the hard yakka. And let's see who laffin' when it comes to the hey-boy-hey. If at times it felt more like military service than magazine publishing, it also felt more like a mad caper than a proper job, and, for most of the people who were at the very heart of it, it would remain a defining experience for the rest of their days".
There's always a few you forget of course when you're writing to deadline, and Tom Moloney reminded me of another classic just a few weeks ago. According to Kevin, you or your competitors were never just in trouble. You were never just in deep trouble. You were always in - let's hear it - DEEP. FURRY. TROUBLE. I don't even know what deep furry trouble looks like - shiver - but I tell you what, I sure as hell never wanted to be in it.
The other joy of that otherwise grim week back in April was the way in which all the old classic stories would start to do the rounds one more time. Kevin loved a good story, he was a great storyteller himself, and in many ways he built first emap and then Hachette Filipaachi into wonderful storytelling cultures long before that particular catchphrase ever entered the zeitgeist.
I thought I had heard them all - and don't worry I shall be doing the Sam Baker mingers special at 2pm sharp at The Stationers - but one even I had not heard before involved a particular emap Board Meeting at Peterborough when some fairly routine acquisition was being presented for approval. As the meeting drew to a close, Kevin in the Chair went around the room as usual asking each Board member for his or her contribution. As tends to be the case with these matters, the law of diminishing returns set in very quickly, so that by the time Sue Hawken or Geoff Stott or Ian Templeton or whoever had said their bit, pretty much everything that could ever possibly be said about this baby had already been said and at some length. Growing visibly frustrated at this process, Kevin turned to the final board member, who shall remain nameless - but he or she is here today - and who uttered those words never before heard at emap. Mr Chairman, I have nothing to say. At LAST, cried Kevin in triumph, somebody with nothing to say who actually says nothing!
Away from all these fun and games, however, Kevin was of course a serious heavyweight figure on the UK magazine publishing scene. He was a great leader, and, in the words of his lifelong colleague and dear friend Malcolm Gough, he had a heart like a lion. He was one of that rare breed who made you believe in yourself even when in the wee small hours you weren't quite so sure about that, and - assuming that he liked you and thought you were doing your best to help the team to win - he was so fiercely loyal and supportive of you that this trait was then repaid back to him in spades. And clearly, if based even on nothing else other than this incredible turn-out here today, he was hugely respected by all those of us who were fortunate enough to know him and to work for him or even against him. The loss to his own immediate family, especially his beloved Fiona and the girls, is of course indescribable. I personally already miss him a great deal. But the loss to our industry is also deep and profound.
So, just before we hear one of his all-time favourite songs, I shall return one last time to those words I was helped by a number you to write back in April, when I was searching for the appropriate closing words with which to finally send-off one of our industry's larger-than-life characters. Hopefully they still ring true just five months on:
"He came from the school that they knocked down to build the old school, and he was the type of big, swaggering, borderline belligerent character that our industry now sees a whole lot less of. These sort of tributes normally end up with the words rest in peace, but somehow they don't seem quite right for a man like Kevin Hand. So perhaps the best tribute we as an industry can pay to this former PPA Chairman is to try to keep on winning. And to make sure that the other fella - always - loses badly."
It has been an absolute privilege to be able to honour Kevin's wish that he be granted this memorial service here today at St.Bride's. My thanks go out to the PPA Board for making this possible, and to each and every one of you for making it such a very special occasion by simply turning up to show your respects. Thank you all very much indeed.
Chris Llewellyn, President, FIPP read Extracts from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Wind in the Willows was a book that meant so much to Kevin and his family. The book’s greatest character, Mr. Toad, was one of life’s great optimists, as of course was Kevin, and when things seemed just that bit tougher than normal he would often quote Toad. Here are three extracts.
The Song of Mr Toad
“The world has held great Heroes,
As history-books have showed;
But never a name to go down to fame
Compared with that of Toad!
The clever men at Oxford
Know all that there is to be knowed.
But they none of them know one half as much
As intelligent Mr. Toad!
The animals sat in the Ark and cried,
Their tears in torrents flowed.
Who was it said, 'There's land ahead?'
Encouraging Mr. Toad!
The army all saluted
As they marched along the road.
Was it the King? Or Kitchener?
No. It was Mr. Toad.
The Queen and her Ladies-in-waiting
Sat at the window and sewed.
She cried, 'Look! who's that handsome man?'
They answered, 'Mr. Toad'."
Extract 2 may remind you of someone.
"Well, well, perhaps I am a bit of a talker. A popular fellow such as I am - my friends get round me - we chaff, we sparkle, we tell witty stories - and somehow my tongue gets wagging. I have the gift of conversation. I've been told I ought to have a salon, whatever that may be."
Finally Extract 3 – some wise advice from Mr Toad
"Take the Adventure, heed the call, now 'ere the irrevocable moment passes!’ ‘Tis but a banging of the door behind you, a blithesome step forward, and you are out of the old life and into the new! Then some day, some day long hence, jog home here if you will, when the cup has been drained and the play has been played, and sit down by your quiet river with a store of goodly memories for company.”
Anna Jones, Chief Executive, Hearst UK read 1 Corinthians 13 by
13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
The choir & organist of St Bride's performed the following anthems and songs:-
In Paradisum from Requiem - Fauré
Amazing Grace - Trad. arr. Jones
Voir Sur Ton Chemin - Coulais/Barratier
Au Fond Du Temple Saint - Bizet
Carrickfergus - Trad.
Les Champs-Élysées - Wilshaw
He Who Would Valiant Be
The Lord's My Shepherd
Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory