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Winifred Dawson obituary

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Winifred Dawson, who has died unexpectedly aged 85, after a stroke, was much loved and will always be remembered for one early relationship. As a young woman in Belfast in the 1950s, Winifred inspired five of Philip Larkin's poems more than did any of the other women in his life. The "sweet girl-graduate" (in Lines on a Young Lady's Photograph Album) was also the subject of Latest Face and of Maiden Name (with "its five light sounds"), of He Hears That His Beloved Has Become Engaged and, written on the day of her wedding, Long Roots Moor Summer to Our Side of Earth.

"How beautiful you were," Larkin wrote, "and near, and young." His new biographer, James Booth, describes a "romantic friendship". Larkin would have liked it to be more, and reluctantly put away his "inconvenient emotions" and "dozens of happy memories which, like pressed flowers, I can spend all winter arranging". There are 26 letters to Win in the Selected Letters of Philip Larkin.

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