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By Jane Randle
Gordon Cumming, who died earlier this year at his home in Wendover aged 70, will be remembered in The Lee for his music and for his binding of the Millennium Diary.
Gordon, the middle of three brothers, was brought up in Leicester within a family who all played instruments and sang. It was at a music camp that he met his wife Jackie and music was the centre of their life.
Gordon read Mathematics at Nottingham University and began work at the Admiralty Research Laboratory as a computer operator. Four years later he moved to ICL.
Intending to be a book-binder in his retirement, in September 1995 Gordon joined an evening class at Oxford Brookes University. He quickly absorbed the fundamentals of the craft and was soon designing card pockets to reduce the volume of his extensive collection of music CDs.
Sadly Jackie developed cancer and died in 1998. Gordon joined the Society of Bookbinders and attended workshops, lectures and visits to important libraries. Not long afterwards, Gordon set up his own bindery at home.
Gordon worked for the Society on its Education and Training Committee. Gordon said it was important to encourage the young, not only as practitioners but also as presenters at the Training Seminar and Conference.
The Millennium Diary for The Lee Parish was a binding of contributions collected in the village during the year 2000. By the end of 2006, Gordon had 600 jobs listed in his work book. But the most important of his bindings were of music. His designs enabled a score to open and lie flat and he would include pockets for the instrumental parts. Not long before he died, he had completed a commission for The Royal Opera House.
Norway has a number of book towns and since 1986 Fjaerland has been such a place. Frau Marit Orheim, who ran a hotel there, thought a resident bookbinder would encourage tourists. One of Gordon’s friends suggested him and having visited the hotel in 2004 Gordon decided to do it, going on to spend two summers there.
When the Society decided to record the great bookbinders Gordon was involved in making the film about Bernard Middleton; he did the camera work and script and was tireless in energy and the time he gave to the project.
Gordon will be much missed by his very many friends. He was delightful company, pleasant to be with, he never imposed his vast intellect, but he was gentle and inquisitive.
Gordon and Jackie had no children of their own but had a large extended family and Gordon had organised them all to be present in Wendover for his 70th birthday party. It was sad for them to be united once more just 13 days later at his funeral.
A memorial event, probably a concert, is planned in Wendover on the 8th October 2011 and all are welcome.
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