Subject: Fish 2000 - Bianca Graham - Last Orders
Dear Freaks, Fishheads, Fans and the Company,
For those of you who have been in Haddington at the conventions throughout the years I regret to have to tell you that on Sunday 16th Bianca Graham died of cancer in Spain. Most of you will know her as the wife and matriarch of Kenny Graham and the Tyneside tavern. She was diagnosed with lung cancer two weeks ago on her return from the UK to their new retirement home near Marbella. Originally thought to be yet another bronchial infection the condition worsened and the Spanish hospital after X Rays recognised lung cancer which quickly spread to other vital organs. Kenny had phoned me then and at that time he had hoped that there was a slim chance of recovery or at least a stay of the inevitable. Sadly this was not to be and Bianca passed over yesterday morning. The speed at which the cancer overcame her was a blessing and Kenny told me that she was at peace when she died.
The funeral is tomorrow in Spain but her ashes will be brought back to Haddington for a service in the coming weeks.
I am sure that I speak for a lot of you who knew her and experienced the dry caustic wit that held Kenny in check and in Fear that she will be sadly missed! A small statured big hearted Italian / West Coast Scottish dynamo Bianca could put the Fear in anyone and demanded immediate respect with her presence when she took station behind the bar. Over the 12 years I knew her she became - with Kenny - family, and when Tammi was ill in 97 she was a tremendous and invaluable support to me. Tammi and Bianca were incredibly close and their relationship was as sisters.
When Kenny announced his retirement last year no-one was surprised that Bianca wanted both of them out of the Pub game and wanted to move to Spain where they had fallen in love with a small place outside Marbella.
They moved late last year and we e-mailed each other a few times as we planned to visit them this Summer in their new home. The last time I saw them both together was on the morning of the first date of the tour last September. Tammi and I had gone out with the two of them to the Waterside the night previously as a Farewell dinner and Kenny and Bianca had insisted that we have a final drink at the Tyneside before we headed off to Holland. We arrived at the pub at around 10am with all the band and crew for our final pints with Kenny and Bianca as captains of the bar. Bianca cooked breakfast for us all and we raised our glasses to them both before heading off into the Fog.
I missed the Farewell party in October but there was never the thought that we wouldn't meet again. Phone calls at Christmas and New Year and messages passed at the "6 o'clock club". They had settled in and were enjoying the peace and quiet of life in Spain.
Kenny is needless to say devastated and at this moment in time the planet is immense and he is so far away. Paul Kinnoch, who took over the Tyneside, and "Ecky P", two of Kenny's closest friends are now over in Spain with Kenny and I am glad that he is not alone just now. Kenny said that his new neighbours have been wonderful in recent weeks and he told me on the phone tonight that the Spanish doctors and nursing staff were tremendous in their care and support for Bianca.
In the end there was nothing that could help her and I am glad that the suffering was not prolonged.
She will be sorely missed and at the Tyneside this evening the "6 o'clock club" was hushed and thoughtful.
Another era closes.
Bianca always held the Convention weekend as one of her favourite times in the Tyneside and loved the visiting fans some of whom became special friends over the years. She became, with Kenny, part of the institution of all that makes up a Convention weekend and both of them were planing to attend this year's party as special guests. A glass will be raised in her memory by many this year. The Company Scotland has lost one of it's most colourful and loved characters and The big bell at St Mary's will ring last orders on a very special individual.
Email 17th April 2000