Cavers of a certain age will be sad to hear of the passing of Stuart Kirby, a long-standing member of SWCC who was active during the exploration phases of OFD and Dan-yr-Ogof. His funeral is on Monday 22nd March which is the day after it would have been, I believe, his 73rd birthday.
I am privileged to have known "The Other Stuart" since the 1980s and he was a trusted and kind friend to me. He run a successful business extracting the gold from old computers in the 1970s using technology he built for himself. Educated at the university of life, he could turn his hand to anything of an engineering or electrical nature in an imaginative, enthusiastic way, with a business mind. This extended to making caving equipment too. An example was his polyurethane-sealed “Kirby Kidney Pack" caving lights, a great piece of design done long before the days of helmet Li-Ion batteries, white LEDs and embedded software. These tough packs of the 1980s were curved to fit snugly around the waist while the caving belt ran through integral slots in the polymer that encased the batteries.https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=23317.0;attach=4515;image
Stuart Kirby was a larger-than-life character, always entertaining, encouraging and perceptive right to the end despite his advancing years. I last saw him at home in rural Gloucestershire in the run-up to Christmas, sharing a good meal, his lively conversation and the inevitable few drinks. Happy moments long to remember.