Rick Gammon (Coolhermit)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of UKA poet Coolhermit (Rick Gammon).


Rick Gammon a man most uncommon.


It’s hard to find a beginning and an end for Rick, because although he’s left us physically he’s always going to be with us with his words, which beguiled, saddened and sometimes made you laugh out loud. He was a man who didn’t suffer fools and was quick to identify the self-appointed “great” poets whose ego’s went beyond their ability, and he was allowed to do that because he was a great poet himself. No one I know disputes this. Here, in his adopted home town of Hull he was and always will be referred to as “The Peoples Poet”. A deserving accolade. 

He always talked of his love and pride in his family, especially proud that he had raised “free thinkers”. Talking to Rick he often mentioned his family and the fact they were not sheep but had minds of freedom that he had instilled and is very much as important as anything else when it comes to remembering Ricks legacy. 

His stories were often funny and bittersweet, such as the time he took his family to Rome, in Rick fashion they camped in the middle of a roundabout in Rome, but when they got back “It was all gone, they’d nicked everything, except a sodden rug”. He was indignant! But laughed as he often did at his pitfalls.

When Rick performed you never knew what was coming, and on open mic nights he’d often shun the mic, and after an introduction, his voice would arrive in the room from where ever he’d perched himself, often near the bar, he would then stalk the room speaking words that you could only wish you could have written.

If he chose you as a friend he was loyal and you knew you could call him at any time and just talk, about anything, if you needed help he’d be there helping, his life’s experience which he wrote mostly about, were many and varied. He’d been a Pastor in London, spoke at speakers corner in Hyde Park and travelled the world, often on a shoestring. He was an explorer. He was a lover of women who often became his muse, and his writings often reflect’s love given and lost. 

If he commented on your work it was a privilege to receive because he never just said “that’s good” without meaning it. You knew you’d penned a winner with Rick’s approval given.

He was kind, generous and always giving with his friends, just as he gave short shrift to those who hurt others or whose ego he objected to.

He came to Hull on a whim, reading about the fishing industry, he thought “I could do that”, and came up from London. He never did fish but he found a home he loved. The earthiness of the place gave him inspiration. He’s had novels published and books of poetry, but never bragged. It just was. He often just gave them away to anyone who showed interest.

Talking to him, it was so engaging, his genuine interest in your life and willingness to share a conversation meant you could talk for two hours, and it would feel like five minutes.

Rick was caring and protective of his family, who grew to be free spirits following his lead. He clearly loved them deeply and had great pride in them all. 

He loved his little back yard garden, growing things, and giving them names, before plucking them for dinner. 

If you met Rick and heard him, you got what you saw, he didn’t hide behind masks. Right to the end he never stopped working, much is on here UKA, he was happy to mentor someone he felt deserved it but you didn’t realise until afterwards, you’d learned a lesson from him.

He also spoke out often and loudly for the poor and dispossessed in our city, and society a humanists soul, he really cared and did what he could do.

At this moment there is an outpouring of grief for this larger than life man, who didn’t ever appear to be his 74 years, we just felt he’d go on forever. And in years to come those he touched will have had a settling of the grief, Rick never feared death, he told me this, he was absolutely certain there was something else to come, and maybe that will include his well-met legend carried on through his words as “The Peoples Poet”.

Mr Rick Gammon. A man most uncommon.

We’ll always miss you mate.

Phil Kay… Mentalelf


Rick’s published work on UKA as Coolhermit.