Given the amount of Popes who’ve died today, (see next paragraph), it’s quite refreshing to start the births paragraph with Archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Parker, who started to stick his nose in other people’s business from 1504. Queen Victoria’s favourite limerick writer who was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during most of her reign, Alfred Tennyson had his big break, break in 1809. Credited with accidentally discovering penicillin Alexander Fleming’s birth in 1881 rather ironically wasn’t in a hospital. Having mentioned sour faced comedy actress Lucille Désirée Ball on 29th April when she not only stopped acting but breathing too, here she is again in celebration of her birth in 1911, although she probably had exactly the same face then. I only knew this person as an actor, and didn’t realise he could also sing, (although, to be fair, I haven’t heard him on record), Robert Charles Durman Mitchell made it through the last frontier in 1917. Pioneer of penny pinching airlines, Frederick Alfred ‘Freddy’ Laker was cleared for take off in 1922. Born Andrew Warhola, but managed to cut that down to Andy Warhol found he had his initial 15 minutes of fame in 1928. Mountaineer who’s been to Mount Everest, (and that’s not the curry house) no less than four times, Christian John Storey Bonnington cut loose in 1934. Giggling actress who was plugging some bingo site last year, Barbara Ann Deeks, or as everyone knows her Barbara Windsor, found being born a right old carry on in 1937. Television presenter from down under, Daryl Paul Somers had a new face in 1951. Infamous cheater on British version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Charles Ingram heard his mum cough in 1963. Fan of Union Jack dresses and ex-Spice Girl, Geraldine Estelle ‘Geri’ Horner (née Halliwell), was looked at in 1972. Australian cyclist who’s another to admit to doping, Stuart O’Grady has been a stayer since 1973.
If I were Pope Francis I’d be a bit concerned as this day over the years has kept the conclave busy and to this end, we start with Pope Sixtus II who became Pope Stiffus I in 258. He was followed by Pope Hormisdas who answered his final summons in 523, and Pope Callixtus III who decided his next career move would be worm food in 1458. Wife of English scribe William Shakespeare – Ann Hathaway took her final look at Straford upon Avon in 1623. Co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church James Springer White made sure he died on a Saturday in 1881. Sir Surendranath Banaerjee, or just Rashtraguru, leader of the Indian National Congress left his seat vacant from 1925. Fulgenico Batista Zaldivar the large hat wearing ex-President of Cuba, had his strings cut in 1973. Pope Paul VI has had his ultimate silent prayer and thought time since 1978. 74th President of Iran Shapour Bakhtiar breathed a sigh of relief in 1991. Gnome like ex-Cabinet Minister with a penchant for duffel coats, unlikely sex thimble Robert Finlayson ‘Robin’ Cooke handed his red box back for good in 2005. Also not making it through that year is ex-member of Buena Vista Social Club, Ibrahim Ferrer, who hasn’t been terribly social since then. Finally, Indian actress Smita Talwalkar had her last scene in 2014.