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21-22 SEP 24

Remembering Ricky

RIP Ricky Kramer. Abergavenny Food Festival Driver 2003 – 2023

Martin Orbach (Festival co-founder and Programming Director) on a much-loved team member:

Ricky was the Festival’s first ‘driver’.  Looking back through the programmes, we first credited South Hereford Garages with lending us cars in 2003. So that was probably the year he joined us.

That year he might have driven Jonathan Meades or Charles Campion; Giorgio Locatelli or Chris Stewart. Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray came. As did Rhondda MP Chris Bryant and comic-poet John Hegley. 

Jeff joined him as understudy a couple of years later when we went up to two cars.  

‘I’ll never forget my first session as driver. I was due to meet Ricky at The Hill. We used it a lot for hospitality in those days. Ricky was parked up in the biggest VW I’d ever seen. It was a Phaeton I think.  He was watching East Enders on TV.’

I was always amazed that we were lent these cars. But every year Ricky and Jeff would turn up at the Festival office with a pair of brand spanking new cars.

Ricky never really got his head round the tech,’ Jeff  remembers. ‘Every year I had to pair-up his phone for him. And he didn’t really do the Sat Nav either. “How am I supposed to know where this is?” he’d say. Until he got there. “Ya. Course I know where this is, I been here loads of times.” He was old-school.’

For all his curmudgeonly exterior, Rikky was an absolute delight and very warm-hearted. He wouldn’t hesitate to go out of his way to help someone. And we had so many reports from grateful guests who had enjoyed his company. He was cherished by many members of the Festival team and particularly the Hospitality Managers who worked with him over the years.

For my part, when Ricky and Jeff appeared in the office on a Thursday afternoon, having just collected the cars, I knew the Festival had begun. They always had on the new AFF T-shirt. It drove me crazy. I could never get my hands on the T-shirt. 

It will be sad to start a new Festival without him.

Rikky’s wake will take place at The Globe in Hay-on-Wye on on Saturday 1 June from 3.00pm.