Sad News

Two sad pieces of news for you today. We've lost two very dear members of our community - Denzella and Coolhermit. They will both be greatly missed.




I'm afraid I didn't know Denzella well but she was talented, kind and very funny and hugely supportive to other ABCTalers. If you want to look back at her work you can find it here:

We have been trying to find a family member to let them know of her body of work here but haven't had any luck so far - so if anyone from ABCTales can give me a contact email, it would be greatly appreciated. All we know so far is that she passed away last May.


Coolhermit was a more recent ABCTaler but during his time here he gained a legion of appreciative readers and was exceptionally generous with his support for other writers and poets. You can find his work here:

He passsed away very recently and very suddenly. I've been sent this lovely tribute by one of his friends Phil Kay:


Rick Gammon a man most uncommon.


It’s hard to find a beginning and an end for Rick, because although he’s left us physically he’s always going to be with us with his words, which beguiled, saddened and sometimes made you laugh out loud. He was a man who didn’t suffer fools and was quick to identify the self appointed “great” poets who’s ego’s went beyond their ability, and he was allowed to do that because he was a great poet himself. No one I know disputes this. Here, in his adopted home town of Hull he was and always will be referred to as “The Peoples Poet”. A deserving accolade. 


He always talked of his love and pride in his family, especially proud that he had raised “free thinkers”. Talking to Rick he often mentioned his family and the fact they were not sheep, but had minds of freedom that he had instilled and is very much as important as anything else when it comes to remembering Ricks legacy. 


His stories were often funny and bitter sweet, such as the time he took his family to Rome, in Rick fashion they camped in the middle of a roundabout in Rome, but when they got back “It was all gone, they’d nicked everything, except a sodden rug”. He was indignant! But laughed as he often did at his pitfalls.


When Rick performed you never knew what was coming, and on open mic nights he’d often shun the mic, and after an introduction his voice would arrive in the room from where ever he’d perched himself, often near the bar, he would then stalk the room speaking words that you could only wish you could have written.

If he chose you as a friend he was loyal and you knew you could call him at any time and just talk, about anything, if you needed help he’d be there helping, his life’s experience which he wrote mostly about, were many and varied. He’d been a Pastor in London, spoke at speakers corner in Hyde Park and travelled the world, often on a shoe string. He was an explorer. He was a lover of women who often became his muse, and his writings often reflect’s love given and lost. 


If he commented on your work it was a privilege to receive because he never just said “that’s good” without meaning it. You knew you’d penned a winner with Rick’s approval given.

He was kind, generous and always giving with his friends, just as he gave short shrift to those who hurt others or whose ego he objected to.

He came to Hull on a whim, reading about the fishing industry, he thought “I could do that”, and came up from London. He never did fish but he found a home he loved. The earthiness of the place gave him inspiration. He’s had novels published and books of poetry, but never bragged. It just was. He often just gave them away to anyone who showed interest.


Talking to him, it was so engaging, his genuine interest in your life and willingness to share a conversation meant you could talk for two hours, and it would feel like five minutes.

                   Rick was caring and protective of his family, who grew to be free spirits following his lead. He clearly loved them deeply and had great pride in them all. 

He loved his little back yard garden, growing things, and giving them names, before plucking them for dinner. 

If you met Rick and heard him, you got what you saw, he didn’t hide behind masks. Right to the end he never stopped working, much is on here UKA, he was happy to mentor someone he felt deserved it but you didn’t realise until afterwards you’d learned a lesson from him.


He also spoke out often and loudly for the poor and dispossessed in our city, and society a humanists soul, he really cared and did what he could do.


At this moment there is an outpouring of grief for this larger than life man, who didn’t ever appear to be his 74 years, we just felt he’d go on forever. And in years to come those he touched will have had a settling of the grief, Rick never feared death, he told me this, he was absolutely certain there was something else to come, and maybe that will include his well met legend carried on through his words as “The Peoples Poet”. Mr Rick Gammon. A man most uncommon.

We’ll always miss you mate.


Oh no, that's terrible news. So sorry to hear that. 


So sad to hear this news.  I met Denzella once, at an ABC reading.  She was kind, funny, and very supportive - all the things that come out in her work.  Sadly, I never had the chance to meet Rick, but he was obviously much loved and will be much missed.  

Oh, dear. So much sad news just now. Maybe you could try the local Parkinson's society. There was a group called something like the Parkinson's Players. She lived in Lincolnshire. Louth, maybe. I can't remember, but someone might. Maybe she's with Derek now. Who knows. Really sad.

Parson Thru

Such sad news. What a wonderful tribute from Rick's friend too. 


Thanks Parson. Ewan's messaged some people on Facebook but no replies so far. Ideally we'd like to get in touch with the family


Very sorry to hear about coolhermit, too. He wrote some great stuff and left generous comments.

Parson Thru

So sorry to hear that. Such sad news. 


wonderful tribute, but sad indeed. 


Oh my word! I only read something from Cool hermit the other day. He seemed such a nice guy. Always so chatty whenever I left a comment. I don't know what to say.


Very sad. Denzella in particular was such a strong presence on the site. I didn't have much contact with coolhermit but also remember enjoying his work. 


Saddened to hear about Moya Rooke (Denzella). I met her and her husband Derek at York and she always sent best wishes to me and my wife with her comments. She was a guest of mine on my website in 2016 and her photo is in the Guests' Gallery 
As Kevin mentioned she was part of 'The Louth and District Parkinson's Group' who performed on the stage. In her Facebook page she mentions a niece (another possible source).

I didn't personally know Rick but I always followed and appreciated his very entertaining writing.



My condolences go out to loved ones of Moya and Rick. I never met either of these writers, yet knew they were special to abc tales. I loved reading Moya's writing and she always had such a caring personality, much needed in these times which makes it even more tragic that she's now gone.

I thought the tribute for Rick was so touching  and the fact that he thought there was more to come after death shows his positive attributes. 

I hope both Moya and Rick are now resting in peace. 

Gone but never forgotten.



I didn't know Rick but having just read some of his work he was obviously a talented writer. Moya ( Denzella), I never met but I'd like to think that we were friends. We both joined the site around the same time (2011). I wrote a story and she sent me a message to say that she recognised some of the places I'd mentioned in Dagenham where my Nan and Grandad lived. Moya was originally from Dagenham and after many messages sent back and forth we found we had a lot more in common. She once owned a house in Upminster and the school opposite was where my son attended. We discovered that we'd drank in the same pubs in the area and were both sadenned that most were now sadly gone. We both had a love of dogs. Moya was a dog trainer and had a boarding kennels for many years. Her pride and joy was her German Shepherd, Lincoln, who she entered for many competitions. I had recently aquired a Labradoodle called Chester and we would often send each other photos of the dogs. She always remembered Chester's birthday and would send me a message wishing him a Happy Birthday! I know that she was a member of a local dramatic society and would write comedy plays and sketches, and she and her husband Derek would perform them. I always thought of her character as a cross between Barbara Woodhouse and Dawn French. The lady had a great sense of humour. I know she was suffering from Parkinsons Disease and was finding it difficult to write. I did send her a message last year on her birthday but wasn't suprised not to receive a reply due to her condition. Such a same that she has gone but a happy thought is that she is once again re-united with Derek and Lincoln.


Very sad to hear part of our family has passed away. Sincere condolences. 


Richard L. Provencher

Very sad news. My sincere condolences.