You may remember my tame armed robber Sam, aka Mr Whippy. If you don’t, here’s his first appearance, and it gives you a bit of insight into how he wasn’t only a villain.

I’m not sure if I could call him a friend, but we were certainly good mates. He and his wife, a lovely woman with a bit of a history of her own, were very kind indeed to me when I hit a very bad patch back in 2013.

Just over two years ago, Sam was diagnosed with liver cancer. He discussed options with the consultant, and found that a/ he had a less than 50% chance of surviving the treatment, and b/ even if he did the outcome was uncertain and unlikely to give him more than an extra six months at best. He decided that, at the age of 77, he couldn’t be arsed with all the mucking about and that he’d let things run their course. His wife, to her great credit, agreed with him.

They had to move house, but the local authority came up trumps on that. He was very well served by the Macmillan nurses who came to tend to him.

He used a pub called the Kicking Dickey, and even when he was feeling a bit off would roll in on Sundays to see his muckers. I made a special point of going there every week just so he knew I was thinking about him. He appreciated that, and told me so.

He was a cantankerous old sod, and instead of the few months he was expected to survive this very aggressive form of cancer, he stuck around for over two years.

Sam died last week. I am sad.