By ANTHONY LOWE

I would like to dedicate this week’s column to my late Great Uncle Bill.

My Uncle Bill (as I always called him) was considered the black sheep of his family.

He was the youngest of four children and never seemed quite to fit the mould of a very upper class English family.

My great-great-grandmother died in childbirth to Uncle Bill and this was something that troubled him deeply as his older brothers and sister always had that notion that it was really his fault. This led him to take to the high seas as a sailor and travel the world and leave the homeland, Great Britain.

Uncle Bill moved to the United States and married a lovely Mormon girl. This too was short-lived as Uncle Bill loved to gamble a little and have more than the odd glass of sherry. This was not considered respectable in Salt Lake City.

My Uncle Bill sent me a letter which was to change my life in a very big way….It goes something like this:

Dear Anthony,

Thank you so much for keeping in contact with me over the years. It means more to me than you may have realised.

I know what it is like to be considered the black sheep of the family but also how important it is to be true to you.

This is a little something from me to you so you can follow your dream. I will always look over you and make sure that you are safe no matter where you travel in this world and beyond.

Love always,
Your Uncle Bill

What my wonderful Uncle Bill had intended was for me to be able to buy another motorbike (he understood my passion for boots and leather jackets?).

It turned out, however, that I followed my dream, and it was in fact how I managed to pay to go to Chicago and compete at International Mr Leather 2010 this year.

If being a black sheep of the family means being like my Uncle Bill, then I am so proud to call myself a black sheep.

Courageous, daring, left of centre, independent, caring and my love for architecture are all parts of him that I will carry through my life.

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