The Kate Bush fan community was completely shocked and saddened this week to hear about the sudden passing of longtime fan Deborah Priestley. An exceptionally popular person, the shockwaves have been felt right across the globe and on hundreds of messages on forums and on Facebook. Our sincerest condolences to her children Dan and Kate, and her husband Rob and her best friend, Keeper – Seán, Peter, Krys & Dave x
Our friend, Sky Boswell, has written the following heartfelt piece to remember the lovely Deborah:
I logged into my Facebook account at around 6am on Tuesday to find a message from a friend, to tell me that Deborah Priestley had died suddenly the day before. It was a terrible shock.
Many Kate Bush fans will know Debs from the early days of the site Forum. She was a dyed in the wool Kate Bush fan, a warm and funny Yorkshire lass who delighted in being with people, loved her family and her dog Keeper, and was a talented amateur photographer whose work often featured in the local press and on regional TV.
I knew Debs for just a few years, but in that time got know her as one of the sweetest, kindest and most thoughtful people I’ve ever met. Debs was a truly genuine person who wore her heart on her sleeve. Self effacing and modest, she was a bright jewel of a woman who touched the lives of many just by being herself. Her Facebook updates of family life were charming, witty, observant, and full of loving enthusiasm. She adored her children Dan and Kate, her husband Rob, and her beautiful German Shepherd dog, Keeper. She loved taking photos of the world around her and had a true artist’s eye. Those long walks with Keeper, or days out with friends or family would always result in more of her wonderful photos, a window on the world according to Debs. Even if you never met her in person you could share her story, and delight in the things she loved.
Debs was always one of the first to be supportive if a friend was having a hard time. She had enormous empathy for others, and on several occasions surprised and delighted me by sending little gifts through the post when I was feeling low. A colouring book, a set of starry fairylights, some chocolate…always accompanied by a lovely note or card. Debs had a generous heart and gave freely of her huge store of love to those who needed it. She had formerly been a nanny by profession, and I imagine the life of every one of the children she cared for was made richer just for knowing her. Only a few days ago I received another of those thoughtful gifts and notes after sending her a coupon for some free gourmet dog food. Typically, Debs’ response to my gesture far outweighed my original ‘gift’. She thanked me publicly on Facebook, too – the last message I was to receive from her. I’ve reproduced it here as it shows what a beautiful person Debs was, always appreciating the little things in life:
“Thank you so much for the beautiful postcard and the coupon for Keeper, you are beyond kind. I was only thinking of you last night, I found something I think you may like!!!! Will get some and send it next week xx”
Debs achieved many things in her short life; it was a life filled with love, laughter, and kindness to everyone she met. She loved, and was loved in return. She truly lived every moment to the full, and in 2014 she achieved a lifetime ambition of seeing Kate Bush live in concert. I’m so glad she did. Goodbye for now, Debs, and thank you for bringing your light into my life. I’m honoured to have counted you among my friends. – Sky Boswell
Note: Deborah’s photography can be viewed at her photography Facebook page here.
A beautiful and eloquent tribute for Deb. She was a one off and her wonderful and infectious giggle has been stuck in my head since I first heard the news. Sleep well darling Deb. You were much loved. x
Thank you, Lise. I am glad that you feel this was a fitting tribute to a unique and special lady. xxxx
A fitting tribute to a special lady, she will be sorely missed.
Sky .. thank you ,.. touching words warm our hearts ,.. we all known teh loved Deborah showed ,… very much how selfless human being she was,…. she gave so much of her heart and time ,.. since i known her ,,,,,, for a long time 12 years ,… i concired her my best friend … She is kind warm human speacil being ,.. she always helping others make them happy and loved and time listening ,.. she is a speacil jem … my heart goes to her beautiful Children and her husband ,….as long i live Deborah will always be part in my heart ,… believing will always be alive within us ,.. keeping her her memeroy alive and teh love and support we giving to her family an friends …. all my love forever Gabriella *****
I’m crying now! Such beautiful words to honour a beautiful lady. Debs was always there for me in my sad times, and I for her. She will never be forgotten for all the right reasons. A truely special soul ✨✨✨✨
A truly beautiful tribute to a truly beautiful, sensitive, kind and modest human being.
I knew her through Kate Bush and us both attending her concerts, I never met her, but she also sent me cards when I was low, one had little stars inside- I kept the card-and the stars, She had such an impact on everyone who knew her, I haven’t stopped crying since I heard. Till we meet, Samantha and family xx
A lovely person and a true fan… Feel it?…. You bet I do!!…
All of us who knew and love Debs will hold our cherished memories of her lovely outlook on life, unending empathy and at times vulnerability. She managed to be so much to so many of us while being an incredible Mum and wife. Sympathy goes out to her lovely family. And we as a group who were lucky to know her will embrace in her absence for a very long time.
A lovely tribute, Sky. There’s a special place in heaven for Fishes; that’s where she’ll be.
Around the time Kate announced her 2014 concerts, I took notice that several of her fans were posting some of my old photos of Kate on FB. Out of sheer gratitude for their appreciation of my work, I began adding comments and anecdotes to the images. The response was such that within months I had made friends with so many of them. Eventually I would meet many during my show at Snap Galleries in London. By then I’d been in touch with Debs for months and looked forward to meeting her on that occasion, but she could not make it as she had tickets for one of Kate’s concerts the following week. So we kept on exchanging messages on FB, sharing our passionate love for music (besides Kate, Nick Drake and Peter Gabriel!) and photography. She sure was one of the sweetest and warmest people of my FB tribe, pure light and enthusiasm, and it’s only too bad we never got to meet. My heartfelt condolences go to her family and friends. She will be dearly missed.
A lovely and fitting tribute, Sky. I never met Deborah and only knew her as a facebook friend but her warm, caring, humorous character shone through all her posts. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such a loss for someone I never got to meet. A truly lovely person who is loved and missed by so many. Rest in peace, Deborah.
Word’s can’t express… She gave me ‘much joy’ over the many years I knew her.
The treasured cards or photographs through the post.
Love & Light… safe journey over the Rainbow Bridge xx
A truly heartfelt tribute for a truly lovely person. Debs will be missed, but never forgotten by those who loved her, and still do. My thoughts are for her loved ones, especially her kids.
So sad to read this.
I got to know Debs through the Homeground Forum, and she was always kind and caring – a very special lady.
Rest in peace Debs and my deepest sympathies to her family.
We zullen je missen.
Je lach, humor en je liefde.
Liefde uit Holland
Thanks Sky for a wonderful and fitting tribute to lovely Debs.
Debs was my friend for several years and has been a constant support during my illness. She was a wonderful loving generous warmhearted talented girl who lit up the lives of all who knew her.
Pyjama Debs, you will live on in the memories of so many people and I will think of you often with a smile and love xxxxxx
I feel so sad to realize that Kate Bush wouldn´t say a word of support.
I am so sad to read this. RIP Deborah. Fond memories of the ‘Katefancies’ days of the forum.