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My friend, Peter Horbury

12 months ago

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Ian Callum | Designer


6 July 2023

A voice message from friend and PR master Stuart Dyble. He said, simply: ‘There is something you need to know. Please call me’. As I called back, a text arrived from Peter Stevens. Before I opened it, I instinctively knew bad news was coming. Even so, the shock of Peter Horbury’s death hit me hard. He was such a huge part of my life… This can’t be!

I met Peter while a student on placement at the Ford design studio in Dunton, Essex. It was 1977. Peter, new to the job, had just arrived from Chrysler’s studio at Whitley. He was young, confident and had a real aura about him. He had longish hair in a corkscrew style. Perms were the trend! He was terrific company: funny, straightforward and he told great stories. Plus he could do a good Glaswegian accent while telling Scottish jokes, which amused me tremendously. Occasionally he would bounce into the strong Geordie accent of his upbringing. As well as being an accomplished designer he was a wonderful cartoonist, capturing the images of people around him. ‘Always useful for leaving cards,’ he used to joke.

After only a few years Peter announced he was leaving to join Volvo in Sweden. He had decided to embark on well-paid agency work. No security but lucrative: he’d occasionally mentioned he was thinking of starting his own business one day, which was going to require investment. I was so sorry to see him go. As his home and family were still in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, several of us would meet up with him for a lunchtime beer, to hear about his overseas adventures and his latest Saab Turbo, which he always chose to drive in while in Sweden. It was all very exotic to us.

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