Last night, at the National Liberal Club in London, a small group of us took part in "An Evening Dedicated to the Life of George Miller-Kurakin".
I wrote about George - and his funeral - HERE and HERE but it was good to have another opportunity to pay tribute to an old friend and recall some of the fun we had in the Eighties when we joined forces to fight - as best we could - the forces of communism at home and abroad.
(How absurd that sounds today but for several decades communists, and the Soviet Union in particular, were a genuine threat to our way of life. Without the likes of George Miller ... well, who knows?)
Julian Lewis, Conservative MP for New Forest East, captured the mood well when he spoke not only of George's achievements but also of his warmth, charm and immense good humour. When Julian mentioned George's "chuckle" there were nods of recognition throughout the room, and sitting here, writing this, I can hear it now.
George's brother Vladimir painted a vivid picture of his best qualities and I was astounded to learn that George couldn't speak a word of English when the family arrived in Britain. When I first met him I assumed that English was his first language. There was no trace of an accent. (Others may disagree.) It was only later that I realised that Russian was the language they all spoke at home.
Other friends spoke of his tireless work helping Russian dissidents inside and outside the USSR and there were lots of anecdotes - not all of them printable - involving trips to Jamaica, Chile and elsewhere. Politics, I was reminded, used to be fun. Even the dirty tricks!
Not everything George did came off (I can vouch for that) and sometimes his heart could rule his head, but Julian made the point that he never stopped trying. He was always ready to give something a go and if that didn't work he'd try something else.
Some of last night's guests I hadn't seen for a long, long time (25 years or more) so the occasion brought back a lot of memories and the realisation that, for all the time we spent together all those years ago, there was a lot about George I didn't know. In fact, for a man bursting with bonhomie, he was remarkably discreet.
Sadly, George was only 54 when he died but he made the very most of his life - and who, among us, can honestly say that?
Above: yours truly with George Miller at (I think) George's wedding in Frankfurt. (Why else would I be wearing a carnation?) What I do know is, it was a long time ago and a lot of vodka has passed under the bridge since then.
PS. Thanks to Russell Walters and Nigel Linacre for organising last night's bash. Julian suggested there should be an award - in George's name - for future freedom fighters so this event could run and run!