It’s with heavy heart that I write this post, to remember a friend who was an example to us all.
Our mate, Paul Skelly, sadly passed away on Saturday 21st May whilst riding his bike with his fellow Beckenham Rugby Cyclists friends.
Skel leaves us with nothing but fond memories of his soft Irish demeanor, an easygoing nature and legendary joie de vivre. I, like everyone he knew, loved his company. Whatever the occasion, it was always better with Skel there.
He had an effortless talent for knitting people together. The O2e family, the BRFC and BRC families are as strong and loyal as they are thanks to the way Skells brought everyone together. He was the talisman for all of these groups and an inspiration to us all, banging the drum for living life the absolute full.
Skel cared about you. If he met you, he’d be interested in you. Sometimes he’d just listen and not say much but then offer a little pearl of wisdom and give you that look, over or under his glasses, with a smile on his face.
O2e stands for Ordinary 2 extraordinary. Skelly was the epitome of this ethos, achieving things on his bike that were super human. Except, Skells was far from an ordinary bloke. Extraordinary 2 even more extraordinary would be more accurate.
There will be many examples of his generosity that people will never know about, the selfless giving that was in his DNA. He touched so many lives and a glimpse of just how many was evident last night as a packed Patrick’s bar paid tribute to the great man in true Irish tradition last night.
At the time of passing, Skel was high on life. He couldn’t get enough of the opportunity of adventure. We were in the midst of planning our cycling trip to Sweden in a few weeks time and whilst it would have been a tough test for him, he was obviously relishing the challenge. The trips goes ahead and every pedal turn will be in his name. It will be painful trip for us all but perhaps the perfect way to honour his life.
A new feature of the O2e newsletter, Supporter Spotlight, was introduced last week to offer a window into the lives of inspirational O2e supporters. The answers from the Q&A intended to motivate others to push further out of their comfort zones whilst building familiarity and rapport with other like-minded O2eers.
Where did we start? Skel.
Last Wednesday I asked him if he would feature as a Supporter Spotlight. By Thursday morning I had his answers, along with his favourite action picture, and what a great read they are. They teach us nothing we didn’t already know about Skells, they are typical of a him and the sort of answers that we’d come to expect from someone with the sunniest of sunny dispositions. But it has provided us with a precious time capsules that preserves his frame of mind so close to his curtain call. And it’s with these answers that I’ll remember Skells.
Ride in peace, my friend x