was with great sadness that I heard of the death of my good friend Rita
Belcher. I first met Rita in 1995 whilst on a trip to New York. She was
one of several American fans of Rod that I had arranged to meet up with
and for a couple of days and nights we went sight-seeing, eating and drinking
together. Rita was great company, friendly, intelligent, plucky and gracious,
with a lovely sense of humour.
Around a year later when Smiler needed a new North American Secretary,
it was to Rita we went. She was well aware of the responsibility she
was taking on but took to the post like a duck to water. In no time
she had increased the number of North American members and conscientiously
ensured the club was run efficiently.
But Rita was more than just Smiler's American Secretary. She was a
personal friend to countless fans the World over - including me. She
would go out of her way to help fans get the best tickets for shows
or personally signed photographs of Rod. And she genuinely cared about
the welfare of all Rod's fans.
Her loss at just 58 years old teaches us all that life is short - too
short - and that we should enjoy and appreciate everything we have while
we are here.
Rita will be greatly missed by all who she touched. Like all who knew
her, my thoughts and condolances are with her family.
John Gray, SMILER founder