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.