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Not Pete Atkin >> Off-topic >> Paul's last secret drink
(Message started by: El Greko on Today at 23:11)

Title: Paul's last secret drink
Post by El Greko on Today at 23:11
At 8:30 this morning Paul Gunningham, aka Secret Drinker here on this forum, died from a heart attack.  He was already in hospital since (I think) the 24th March, following a horrendous RTA that left him in a coma initially.  After a few weeks he came out of his coma, then a little later he managed to breathe unassisted, then he started to move his fingers and one foot a little, then he managed to whisper the odd word - like asking for water, which he sipped through a straw.  He was improving steadily all the time, and many of us who followed his progress willed him on and had hopes of a full or at least near-full recovery eventually, when the heart attack struck this morning.

He played guitar in the group Tam Lin and had become a friend, turning up at several of my gigs in the Home Counties over the last 3 years.  Alan Hewson, one of his best mates and also a member of Tam Lin, asked me three weeks ago if I could write a song for Paul on his behalf, as he really liked the guy but had never told him how much he appreciated his friendship, at least not in so many words.  Last week I sang Paul's song for the first time at a Mudcat (international folkie website where both Paul and I were members) gathering; and on Saturday again for another group of Mudcatters including several who knew him in person.  There were tears and heaps of good wishes for his recovery.  But it was not to be.  I will sing Paul's song from now on, in his memory.  RIP, Secret Drinker...

Can you hear me, mate?
I would have been here earlier, I'm sorry I am late.
The motorway's a bitch today, the car park's in a state.
Can you hear me, mate?
But you don't want to know about my own problems now,
I'm here and I will stay as long as matron will allow.
And I'll ignore the bandages, pretend it's a disguise.
And I'll ignore the monitor, just look you in the eyes
And I will talk to you
I will talk for you
I will talk of you

Can you hear me, mate?
Graeme and Gina send their love, and Sue and Alan too.
The guys in the pub ask every day for news of you.
Can you hear me, mate?
Last night we raised a glass to you and talked about old days
And yes, we trotted out all the tired old clichés
Of how you talk, and how you smile, and how you tell a joke
And Steven was all tearful, though he said it was the smoke.
And we drank to you
Yes, we drank for you
We drank of you

Can you hear me, mate?
I am embarassed and that's why I seem to hesitate, but
There's something that I need to say to you, that cannot wait
Can you hear me, mate?
I could have told you long ago, I should have done and all, for it
was you that had the accident and I the wakeup call.
So I'll just say this one thing now, don't mean to be a bore:
I loved the times we had and I look forward to some more.
I will sing to you
I will sing for you
I will sing of you

George Papavgeris

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Keith Busby on 30.05.07 at 00:50
Bad news, George. I'll raise a glass to Paul tonight.

And let's all wish bon courage to Frankie.

Keith

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Ian Chippett on 30.05.07 at 08:47
Awful news. I first met Paul at Buxton and a few times subsequently when he came to Paris and he was such a nice chap. We corresponded on a daily basis for a long time about the Wurzels, Pete, and this and that. It's nice to think that Paul got launched on a part-time musical career in the folk clubs because of his involvement with the Beautiful Changers. I'll raise my glass to him tonight too even if it doesn't contain Scrumpy...

Ian C

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Pete Atkin on 30.05.07 at 10:56
This is shocking, wretched, meaningless, awful.  We -- none of us -- can afford to lose people like Paul.

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Carole on 30.05.07 at 11:37
We first met Paul, and Frankie, at Buxton in 1998. I remember Jenny Cotterill coming up to us at the reception in the Opera House Conservatory saying there was a chap outside called Paul Gunningham who didn't have reception tickets, but would it be OK if he paid his money now and came in? He'd been so delighted to get tickets for the show he'd completely overlooked the reception. But to ask if he could come in, and not just bluster his way in was so like Paul. He was a genuinely nice guy. He and Frankie could always be relied upon to support any event we organised, and there was always a thankyou card from them afterwards. This is a very sad day indeed.

Carole, Steve and Alexis

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by David Morgan on 30.05.07 at 17:46
I never met Paul, but his personality shone so clearly through this forum that I feel I knew him. So sad.

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Simon Reap on 30.05.07 at 18:20
I remember Paul well from the Changers - a delight to run the sound desk when he was performing.

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Kevin Cryan on 30.05.07 at 21:01
I didn't  know Paul personally, but, as David rightly says, his personality shone so clearly through his contributions to the forum that I too felt I did. Of course, I now feel saddened that I did not get at least one opportunity to meet him. It's so tragic that someone who has so much more to give should be taken from us in this way.  

All my sympathy tonight is with the the bereaved family. We have lost someone we would have liked to call a friend, they have lost something more.


Kevin Cryan


Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Jan on 30.05.07 at 22:38
He was good company, it was always a pleasure to meet Paul and Frankie at gigs.
And he loved being one of the first MV Fixtures, (was he THE first?) followed by a typical offlist worry that he might be posting too much to MV. I suggested he carry on exactly as before, as a fount of Atkin knowledge his stuff was always welcome and interesting both on and off list.
I'll miss him.
Jan

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Gerry Smith on 31.05.07 at 03:45
This is terribly sad news. I met Paul on numerous occasions at Pete's gigs and MV events over the past ten years and it was always a pleasure to see him. I feel that I knew him far better than I did in reality largely due to his many and invariably good natured postings, right back to to the early days of MV (a quick search shows Steve welcoming Paul to MV in posting MV1414 on Sunday 30th August 1998).

I shall greatly miss his input to this forum and seeing him from time to time 'along the way'.

With condolences to Frankie and family.

Gerry


Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Murray McGlew on 31.05.07 at 12:12
I only knew Paul from his postings, which I always enjoyed. He was obviously one of nature's gentlemen. You people feel like family after all these years, and I am terribly sad that we have lost one of our regulars.

My heartfelt condolences to family and friends.

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by BogusTrumper on 31.05.07 at 13:28
One of the oddities of message boards is that you can get to know people you have never met.  This news has stunned me, and Paul and I never met.

Deepest condolences from across the pond.

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Leslie Moss on 31.05.07 at 18:27
This is just awful news. I heard from Carole that he was badly injured but that there were good signs of progress, then I went abroad for work and have only just checked the Forum for the first time in a fortnight to learn the worst.

I first met Paul across the wires like the rest of the Voices, and had the pleasure of meeting him in person many times at MV events and as a fellow-member of the Beautiful Changes. He was such a great guy.  We had such fun together during rehearsals.

I am absolutely gutted and my heart goes out to Frankie.

Leslie

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by bobtaylor on 31.05.07 at 18:33
How saddened I am by this horrible news. Like many at this forum, I never knew Paul,
and what we learned of him through his postings here has obviously left a big impression.
It is almost eerie that we feel this collective sadness for someone we never met, but the sadness is very real.
I can only echo the sentiments expressed by all the previous messages, and send heartfelt condolences to all his family and friends.
Bob Taylor.

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Kevin Cryan on 31.05.07 at 20:41
This few snippets seem to me to sum up the Paul whom I'd like to have known, but whom I  only knew him only through this forum.  But I will remember him just the same.

________________________________________________________________________________
http://www.knibb.org/juliefelix/scrap_files/Paul+JulieMar2007.jpgPaul with Julie Felix (http://www.knibb.org/juliefelix/)





"Paul Gunningham provided the opening entertainment when Julie Felix performed at the Baldock and Letchworth Folk Club in Hertfordshire on 7 March 2007. "
Julie Felix Scrapbook (http://www.knibb.org/juliefelix/scrap.htm)











Re: MV gigs - post here
« Reply #18:
08.03.07 at 10:20 » (http://www.peteatkin.com/cgi-bin/mv/YaBB.cgi?board=offtopic;action=display;num=1168421378;start=18#18)      

on 02.03.07 at 13:04, Secret Drinker wrote: (http://www.peteatkin.com/cgi-bin/mv/YaBB.cgi?action=display;board=offtopic;num=1168421378;start=0#12)

Quote:

I'll be supporting American folk singer Julie Felix, for her gig at Baldock Folk Club (she's currently on tour here). I expect many of you are old enough (like me) to remember her from the Frost Report, etc. back in then 1960s. Anyway, wish me luck - I'll need it  


Well, it went pretty well, I'm glad to say! Julie was excellent, and seeing her took me right back to the 1960s. She still does some of the old protest songs, with her version of Blowing in the Wind rewritten with mentions of Bush, Blair etc. But she does a lot more, including some Spanish Mexican and Cuban songs. She's a lovely person too, and it was a pleasure to meet her - she was kind enough to thank me publicly for my set. Sorry, just had to mention it - something to add to my 'folk cv' alongside Pete!    

I had Laughing Boy on the setlist but I'm afraid I ran out of time - I'll put it at the top of the list for next time    

Cheers
Paul
________________________________________________________________________________

Thanks for the memory.

Kevin Cryan

Title: Paul's funeral
Post by Carole on 02.06.07 at 12:30
Frankie has asked me to give the details, in case anyone would like to attend. It will be on Thursday, 14th June at 13.15 at Stevenage Crematorium (on the Hertford Road).

Carole

Title: Re: Paul's funeral
Post by BogusTrumper on 02.06.07 at 22:37

on 06/02/07 at 12:30:05, Carole wrote :
Frankie has asked me to give the details, in case anyone would like to attend. It will be on Thursday, 14th June at 13.15 at Stevenage Crematorium (on the Hertford Road).

Carole


Is there a charity suggested for donations?  Or an address for flowers?  I can't make it over the pond, but would like to do something.

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Ian Sorensen on 03.06.07 at 01:11
It's devastating.

Paul was always the most agreeable company and I can't believe I'll not enjoy his company again. At the risk of offending my fellow members of the Beautiful Changers, I always thought Paul was the best musician of us all, and could turn his guitar to any song we attempted, whether PA or not.

Every sympathy to Frankie, and I too will raise a glass to his memory.

Ian Sorensen

Title: Re: Paul's funeral
Post by Carole on 03.06.07 at 09:52
In answer to your question Bogus, and for anyone else who might like to know - from Frankie:

We are collecting for a memorial seat to be placed in one of Paul's favourite spots - donations c/o the funeral directors, family flowers only.

David J Binks
96 Walsworth Road
Hitchin
Herts
SG4 9SU

Tel; 01462 444910

Carole


Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Richard Bleksley on 03.06.07 at 10:53
Just back from a week's holiday, too tired to do anything much last night after nearly ten hours at the wheel, I've just checked in this morning to be devastated by the dreadful news about Paul.

I did actually meet Paul, if only the once, and now I feel I was fortunate to have done so while I had the chance. At the pre-gig sclonch at the Café Rouge in Sheffield last year, I was sitting with my wife and son right at the end of a long table, feeling a little out of it (I'm not terribly accomplished socially), when Paul rose from his seat and walked down the table to greet me and engage me in conversation. Within a minute or less it felt like talking to an old friend. How could I not like him?

I'm hoping that those who knew him better than I did will be smiling to themselves at this point and saying: "Oh yes, that was Paul. How typical."

It seems so senseless, so arbitrary, so unfair that someone so warm-hearted, good-humoured and likeable should have been snatched away in his prime.

I was the one who acquired the Gunninghams' tickets to the St. Georges' gig. Now, however good the performance may be, the occasion will be marked for me with an indelible poignancy.

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Seán Kelly on 04.06.07 at 08:26
I have just read all the above and I am completely gutted.  Thankyou George and Carol for letting us know.  Please send my [and all our] love and sympathy to Frankie - I hope she is getting better - but what a blow this is.  He was a great guy.
Seán

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by avner greenberg on 04.06.07 at 09:27
This is such terribly sad news. Paul will be sorely missed at MV gatherings, and for his cheerful and thoughtful postings.
And fondly remembered, not least for his role in the Beautiful Changers, the PA tribute band unleashed on an unsuspecting audience at the wonderful Monyash FOD 99. I remember wondering initially at their audacity, then warming to their enthusiasm and thoroughly enjoying their performance. For the uninitiated and nostalgic among us - take a look at Paul's recommended website:  [http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~gunning/]

My sincere condolences to the Gunninghams.

Avner



Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Heather_Gunningham on 06.06.07 at 18:09
I joined MV last night to express my sincere thanks for your wonderful sentiments on my brother, Paul Gunningham.

I was surfing for information on my brother as a way to help me grieve through the process. I last saw Paul and Frankie in October in London and we both all met in a pub with our adult sons. He was a modest, talented individual with a brilliant mind who loved his family, music, travel, meeting people, and computing development - but his passion was always music.

Even as a teenage he played harmonica, keyboards, and guitar.  He was also a brilliant cartoonist. It was a terrible shock to hear of the dreadful car accident that took him away from his family - he struggled to live for 10 weeks, visited daily by Frankie. I last saw him in April, just three weeks after the accident.

The person who caused the accident when P&F were on their way to fly out for a vacation, has since gone underground and the police haven't been able to arrest him. The man had no legal papers on him and he drove right into Paul.

I was touched by the song written to Paul by George P.  Thank you all for your kind messages, I have printed copies to give to his parents who have no Internet access.

Heather Gunningham

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by George Papavgeris on 06.06.07 at 18:58
Heather,

you can also go to the relevant Mudcat threads:

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=100362&messages=156 (after the accident, with all the good wishes)

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=102028&messages=86 (after Paul left us)

I took the liberty of copying your message to the second of the above threads.  A number of Mudcatters are expected to come to the funeral.

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Heather_Gunningham on 07.06.07 at 00:27
George et al

Thank you so much for the gift of the song to Paul's family and the discussion threads URLs - I am listening to your beautiful, wistful song composed for my brother Paul - how I wish he could have heard it for himself.

Your wishes and prayers from all Paul and Frankie's friends so obviously inspired him to keep going for those 10 weeks.

http://www.folk4all.net/SongForPaul.htm

Heather



Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Richard Bleksley on 07.06.07 at 00:34
As if the simple fact of Paul's death were not tragedy enough, now we have Heather Gunningham's news of the cruel circumstances of the accident, which has saddened and angered me (and. I'm sure, all of us) further. A world in which people like Paul pay the price while ****holes like the other driver get away with it is indeed a bitch.

A perfect bitch, as I believe someone once said, and it'll need a lot of perfect moments to take the sting out of this.

I only hope to God the guy's conscience is giving him some taste of the hell Frankie and the rest of Paul's family must be living through, but unfortunately people who do this sort of thing usually don't have one.

(Hope I'm not banging on too much, but I'm just so outraged.)

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Gerry Smith on 07.06.07 at 02:03
You are right to be angry, Richard.  I count myself lucky to be alive twice over, thanks to people who have no place on our roads (once slammed into a tree at 60mph and once mown down on a zebra crossing).  The circumstances surrounding Paul's death indeed rub salt into the wound.


Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Mike Walters on 07.06.07 at 14:03
Just to add my belated condolences, having been away.  I can't claim to have known Paul as some others here did, but I met him a few times at MV bashes and of course 'knew' him through his excellent contributions here - he always seemed a delightful man.  As for the circumstances, well, 'I have tried a thousand times or so/To link the ways men die with how they grow/But no dice'.  A sad and tragic loss.

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by BogusTrumper on 09.06.07 at 21:56

on 06/07/07 at 00:27:15, Heather_Gunningham wrote :
George et al

Thank you so much for the gift of the song to Paul's family and the discussion threads URLs - I am listening to your beautiful, wistful song composed for my brother Paul - how I wish he could have heard it for himself.

Your wishes and prayers from all Paul and Frankie's friends so obviously inspired him to keep going for those 10 weeks.

http://www.folk4all.net/SongForPaul.htm

Heather


It is wonderful to hear the song as well as read the words.  It is enough to make a grown man cry.

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by Alex_Gunningham on 15.06.07 at 17:16
Thanks to everybody for their kind words about my brother Paul.

The funeral yesterday was very well attended. In fact, it was a full house at the Crematorium in Stevenage. The Orange Tree in Baldock was the setting for the Wake afterwards. It was good to be reunited with our sister Heather (who also recently joined MV) and our parents, cousins and last remaining aunt. This year we have also lost our uncle Ben and Rita who also passed on.

I know how much pleasure Paul got from his manifold internet activities and would like to thank you all for contributing to his happiness.

It was heart-breaking seeing Paul in hospital. He had been a fit and strong man, so to see him lying in his bed with the paralysis induced by the neurological injuries that he suffered. His beloved wife Frankie and son Harry were very strong throughout their ordeal, putting on a brave face and being cheery to try and lift Paul's spirits.

When I visited him on the 13th of May, he was able to move his head on the pillow. He managed a lop-sided grin at the humorous lyrics on a Crokodile Tears CD that I took him that day. The music (predominatly folk records from Paul's vast collection)definitely helped him cope with his predicament. On that day, the Senior Ward Sister said that his blood pressure had been normal for the first time since Paul's admission on March the 24th. Paul's eyes were alert and he seemed to understand all that was said to him. He seemed interested in the football results from the playoffs at that time. Sadly, Paul contracted the superbug C.Dif when he was in hospital. When I saw him for the last time on May 27th, two days before he passed, he was clearly suffering greatly.

All the family will miss Paul terribly. He wasn't just my brother, but was also my life-long friend.  

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by MelandMike_Powell on 18.06.07 at 22:16
We don't look at the Forum much so when Cary's email arrived last week bearing the disastrous news about Paul we found ourselves paging through a long list of posts of increasing despair.  As Richard said the fact that Paul has died is bad enough, but the circumstances provoke deep anger as well as sadness.

As with all MV friends, we met infrequently, but the events we shared were especially significant to us.  Paul and Frankie kindly gave us a lift back to our hotel after the Moss's bat mitzvah blowout in North London and we left them expecting the next rendezvous to be over another beer in another place where we could enjoy looking forward to the next one.  This group has made the world a better place and now it has lost one of its foundation stones.

It is hard to find words for all we would want to say.   Thank you George for your beautiful song:  we are sure it expresses the feelings of many others apart from us.  We send our condolences and best wishes to Frankie, the rest of Paul's family and all their friends.

Mel and Mike

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by JtJ on 21.06.07 at 17:55
(Even later than most because....oh, it doesn't matter....)

So sad to hear about Paul.  And the circumstances too.

There'll  be sweeter music in heaven now....played on an acoustic guitar.

My thoughts now with his memory....and for his family.

Title: Re: Paul's last secret drink
Post by George Papavgeris on 23.06.07 at 10:52
The Paul Gunningham Memorial Ceilidh
Ickleford Village Hall
82 Arlesey Road, Ickleford, Hitchin SG5 3TG
Saturday July 21st    8 - 11pm

Millrace Ceilidh Band with caller Keith Harrup

A 'Ploughman's' will be available at £2.50. There will also be nibbles & soft drinks available, but bring your own alcohol

All profits go to 'The Paul Gunningham Music Festival Fund'

The Festival itself will be on March 29th 2008 - full details in due course

Baldock & Letchworth Folk Club & LALG members £6.00  
non - members £8.00   children £4

Tickets / Information - contact Alan Hewson - Mad Nanny Music
Tel: 0845 123 2656    email: alan@madnanny.co.uk



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