July 11 - 18 , 1997


 Coastweek   Kenya

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Coastweek - - I knew the Late Dennis Lakin for many years as we were colleagues within the tourist industry.

Wearing different hat but fighting for the same cause we often compared notes on state of the industry, the problems and possible solutions.

As a tour operator, on many occasions, I had to negotiate with Dennis in order to get favourable rates, and at all times received a welcome, and a joke.

He used to make cynical but useful criticisms and observations of the incidents and catastrophes, which often behest us in the course of our daily routine, but at the same time I found him to be a capable administrator.

I realised very soon that Dennis had considerable inner strength, and was a shrewd judge of the character of his fellow humans.

He used to say that there was an aura or energy which would be discerned around people, and because of this sixth sense his, he was very invariably able to distinguish the sincerely people from the rest.

I always hoped that he saw me as such a person.

Certainly, I found him to be the most sincere and straight forward in his dealings with me, where he was also a man of his word.

Dennis knew the old in Kenya, the Pre-independence Era, where he played his role in the former administration.

It was interesting to note that he had many friends amongst Kenyans of all tribes, and even for quite a time had a business associate who hailed from the area in which he had served as a District Officer.

So I can say that the friendship of Dennis extended beyond all boundaries and embraced everyone.

It was rather not race, colour, nor money that brought about relationships with him, rather respect and dignity which he gave, and which he received.

He had great tales of the days of yore, and was a veritable mine of information on many of the facets of Kenya.

Unlike many of us his time on earth touched quite a few people to leave an indelible imprint of his passing, and accordingly some of us are richer for having known him.

Dennis Lakin will not be forgotten by many of us in the industry.

Although, sadly, he has left us, he has left a firm imprint within KATO in the form of two KATO manuals of which he was the editor, and a promotional film on Kenya done for KATO by Dennis Lakin.

The later has been seen in the four corners of the world and has created far reaching waves, in highlighting the image of this republic.

On the other hands the two successive manuals have taken the name of Kenya and the extension KATO into the reservation offices of travel agents world wide.

The prestige of these authoritative manuals will be a fitting memorial to Dennis a dedicated author, who was a stickler for good English usage.

For all I know right now his spirit may be monitoring me and correcting my imperfect English.

Incidentally, the bulk of photos used in these manuals came from the personal collection of Dennis Lakin.

We knew him as a Writer and Publisher, and also a Hotelier.

In the latter category, he wore various hats.

We knew him at Maralal Safari Lodge where he was extremely versatile coming up with a variety of promotions to popularize this unique establishment.

But of course, these skills were honed in those days when he was one of the key people in the management of the Serena Hotel Group at the time of their initial inception.

Prestige Hotels was his last involvement where once more he was involved in the operation of the young hotel group and again he applied his vision and set his mark within the Industry.

For a while he sat on an ad hoc basis on the marketing and public relations sub-committee of KATO where his contributions were very well received, and highly respected.

The Executive Committee, The Staff of the KATO Secretariat, and the entire membership will miss the presence of Dennis as a long serving member of the tourist industry, where his contributions have left a permanent record of his presence.

He did not waste his time.

- Maj. (Rtd.) C.D. Walker - Vice Chairman - KATO.




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