First Lady of F1 Dies at 91
I was very sad to hear that Bette Hill, Graham Hill's widow and Damon's mother has died.
It was in 2006 that Bette acquired a copy of the first Scrapbook I wrote with Stirling Moss, the very first book that Porter Press published. Bette contacted me and said she had all Graham's old scrapbooks and would I be interested in doing something similar. Stirling was my childhood hero and when he sadly retired, Hill became the driver I supported. So, I was overjoyed to write the Graham Hill Scrapbook, and honoured when Damon Hill penned the foreword and signed the limited edition deluxe versions.
Bette was tremendously supportive with information and putting me in touch with all sorts of people from Graham's past. I contacted a wide range of drivers and former friends. One of those I interviewed was the great Murray Walker and this led to us doing the Murray Walker Scrapbook and the start of a great friendship.
Graham had tremendous support from Bette whom he met before he was successful and famous. Indeed he was still trying to make a start in motor racing and Bette told me about their honeymoon. 'We knew we would only have three days, with the rest of the honeymoon being spent at Goodwood circuit, so we went over to Wittering, which is a beautiful part of the Sussex coast and a lovely place to swim. Graham was mad on photography, having learnt a lot from Tony Snowdon [later the Earl of Snowdon], whom he first met during his rowing days.' Couldn't let a small matter of a honeymoon get in the way of his motor racing ambitions!
Graham was one of the greatest characters in motor racing - perhaps the last great character - and all characters need solid support behind the scenes. Bette gave him that wonderful support. It was a great pleasure to have known her.