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Russell Robert Purves Wells
1948 - 1989
For more detail, a high-resolution version of this image (about 5 times wider than shown above) is available for download here. Broadband is recommended - file is big (14.36 Mb).
This panel forms part of Block 2 of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt.
We would like to thank Russell's younger brother, Peter, for sending us this information about Russell's panel.
This panel was made by my mother Bessie, myself (Peter) - Russell's younger brother - and Alexa Johnston, a close friend of Russell's. The material was a beautiful brocade which I thought expressed some of Russell's joie de vivre. The symbols mark out things like his love of antiques, his role in the legal profession, knowledge of Maoritanga.
Russell was my elder brother by two years. I wrote extensively about this charismatic brother in my memoir 'Long Loop Home' and the documentary film based on it, 'Pansy'.
He influenced a younger generation of chefs and cooks. He was an ace cook of Elizabeth David recipes and Ray McVinnie and Alexa Johnston learnt from Russell - his flair, sharp taste, nonacceptance of second-best and demand that things be 'just so'.
Like anyone he could be irritating, demanding and difficult - but his flair for life was so extraordinary he changed the lives of people around him.
He died at 41 and my mother and I often wonder what he would have achieved if he had lived longer.
Russell Robert Purves Wells -1949-1989.
Added March 2013
If you knew Russell and wish to add your memories to this page, or wish to remember a loved one with a strong connection to New Zealand who has been lost to AIDS, you may do so on this page.
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