Pendant marks wonderful life of singer ‘Black’ who died in Cork crash

A special charity pendant is to be unveiled in memory of Colin Vearncombe, the singer-songwriter known for his smash hit ‘Wonderful Life ’, who died in a car crash in Co Cork last year.

Sabine Lenz of Enibas; Camilla Griehsel; and Anne-Maria O'Connor of Brú Columbanus. Picture: Emma Jervis Photography

The eye-catching piece commemorates the life and work of Mr Vearncombe, who recorded as the artist Black. It is in the shape of a smiling sun and will be available in both gold and silver.

It was designed by Camilla Griehsel, wife of Mr Vearncombe, in collaboration with the couple’s sons and family friend, jeweller Sabine Lenz of Enibas Jewellers in the West Cork village of Schull.

The inspiration for the piece was a silver pendant Swedish-born Camilla had made for Colin shortly after the couple met in 1989, and which was afterwards worn by the musician as a good luck charm.

Proceeds from sales of the pendant, to be launched on Monday, will go to the Cork charity Brú Columbanus.

The pendant carries an Irish-language inscription, “Saol Iontach” recalling the musician’s 1980s hit, and is expected to raise thousands for the charity, which provides home-from-home accommodation for family members of seriously ill patients in Cork hospitals.

The Enibas commemorative pendant in memory of singer Colin Vearncombe. Picture: Emma Jervis

Sabine got the idea to create a charity pendant in memory of Colin during a special tribute concert for the singer in Skibbereen last August. Camilla recalls: “Colin had actually left his pendant into the jewellers for repair shortly before the accident. When Sabine first approached me with the idea of creating a commemorative piece inspired by Colin’s pendant, I immediately said yes.”

The father of three passed away in Cork University Hospital on January 26 last year following a car accident en route to Cork Airport.

He and his family had moved to Schull 14 years ago.

Several members of Colin’s family, including his wife and children, stayed at the Brú Columbanas facility in Wilton, near the hospital, for about a fortnight before he passed away.

Colin Vearncombe, right with wife Camilla

“To be able to be together as a family was so important at a time when we were so distraught; to be able to be sit together and eat together was so important,” said Camilla. “At that extreme and difficult time, it was invaluable for us to be together in the haven that is Brú Columbanus.”

Anne-Maria O’Connor of Brú Columbanus said the charity was a small one, with a full-time staff of three and more than 70 volunteers: “Each day we have to turn people away as we are always full to capacity.”

The silver pendants will retail at €69 on leather and €75 on a chain, while the gold pieces will retail at €198 on leather and €398 on a gold chain. They can be pre- ordered online at from Monday and in-store from May 27, one day after Colin’s birthday.

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