Memorial walk planned to honour Brixham poet

Brixham poet William Oxley who died at the age of 80

Brixham poet William Oxley who died at the age of 80 - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to Brixham poet William Oxley who died at the age of 80.

To thank the NHS staff who looked after him and in his memory, his daughter Kate is walking 35 miles of the South West coastpath from Hopes Nose to Berry Head and back.

William and wife Patricia were founders of the Torbay Poetry Festival, which started in 2001 and arose out of William’s year as Poet Laureate for Torbay in 2000.

Born in Manchester, William suffered rheumatic fever as a child which damaged his heart.

Daughter Kate said: “Ever a believer of it’s not over until its over, he went on to live a full and successful life as an internationally regarded poet and philosopher, and a much-loved husband, dad, granddad, great granddad and friend to many.

“In the last few months of his life he knew the end was approaching and, instead of feeling sorry for himself, he wanted everyone to know how grateful he was for the wonderful care and support by the team at Torbay Hospital across the years and wanted any collection from his funeral to be given to the hospital in recognition of this.”

His death in February meant there was no opportunity for a gathering to pay tribute to him, his life and work.

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Kate explained: “I will be doing this walk not only in memory of my Dad but also as a personal tribute from myself, my sister and my mum, to the wonderful staff who cared for him on his last day with the dignity he deserved.”

Renowned as a prolific poet, as well as 31 published poems in newspapers and journals, he produced numerous books of literary criticism, philosophy and biography.

Having worked as a chartered accountant, he met his future wife through amateur dramatics and they married in 1963.

In 1976, he and Patricia, who was awarded the MBE for services to poetry in 2012, and their family moved to Brixham.

There he devoted his time to poetry and Patricia, who founded the literary journal Acumen with William as the honorary treasurer and interviews editor.

His archive was acquired by The British Library in 2014.