elizabeth January 27th, 2016

After he retired, Felix came to my class in Writing for Children, and we remained in touch ever since. His sense of humour was beguiling and wicked. He enjoyed great success, or perhaps notoriety, with two books Abigail at the Beach and Abigail Goes Visiting. Abigail's sand castle is threatened by passing boys. 'You touch one of my towers and I'll get my daddy to hang you both upside down by the heels. He's in the Mafia.' The illustrations by Christine Roche were a work of comic genius. 54 MPs of all parties signed a Commons early day motion in December 1988 condemning 'Professor's drink and violence bedtime story,' and demanding that Collins withdraw it. This was righteously reported in the Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Mirror, Guardian and a column devoted to it in The Times. Collins bravely published the second book but got cold feet over the third. Felix, of course, had the time of his life, relishing every moment in the limelight. All this from a man of kindness, gentleness and humour. Felix toyed with other book ideas but eventually deserted us for his next enthusiasm - mosaic making. We missed him.