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Moving tributes to Paul Vigay flood in

Published: 23rd Feb 2009, 06:30:04 | Permalink | Printable

Hundreds of heartfelt tributes have been paid to popular RISC OS advocate and ISP owner Paul Vigay, who was found dead off the south coast on Friday morning. Close friends described civil liberties campaigner Paul, 44, as "kind, sincere and patient" and "an extremely clever deep-thinker".

His body was spotted in the sea at Eastney, Portsmouth, by a beach walker after he had been reported missing at 11pm the day before. Police are not treating his death as suspicious. Officers were called to the seafront near the Royal Marines Museum shortly after 8am to cordon off the area while coastguards recovered his body.

Hours before, Paul's partner, Louie Smith, had posted a desperate appeal on the internet at 4am, saying: "Please help, Paul is missing. If anyone hears from him, please contact me or the police immediately." It is understood 24-year-old Louie, who edits the RISC OS Now magazine, is being comforted by family, who are too upset to speak at this time.

Paul, of Manners Road, Southsea, was a keen RISC OS advocate and, as well as developing numerous pieces of software for the platform, he also ran the riscos.org website and was well known for helping users solve computing problems on mailing lists and other online forums. One of his last messages posted online, on Thursday afternoon, was an answer to a query raised on the RISC OS Select mailing list.

Many users also knew him from his time as a Micronet editor and also his employment at ISP Argonet, where he provided technical support. Paul later set up his own ISP, Orpheus Internet, and transfered over Argonet's customer base after Argonet pulled the plug on its ISP business. As well as working as an IT consultant and web designer, he was also a leading crop circle and UFO researcher - and was involved in the production of sci-fi thriller film Signs. Paul was also a fierce defender of civil liberties, especially in matters concerning the protection of privacy and freedom of speech, and backed the campaign against a national ID card scheme in the UK. He regularly appeared and exhibited at RISC OS shows and would extol the virtues of his favourite computing platform at every opportunity.

Stunned by news of his death, RISC OS users, crop circle investigators and his personal friends joined together in paying moving tributes to Paul in mailing list and newsgroup messages and in posts on an online book of condolence.

Pal Philip Talbot, of Portsmouth, said: "As Paul's best friend of over 32 years I am deeply saddened and shocked by this news. He was like a brother to me."

Terrible blow
Another friend, Chris Newman, of Portsmouth, said: "This is absolutely devastating news. I live near Paul and I was only talking to him a couple of days ago. He was very helpful, as ever, and chatting away cheerfully. It was always nice to drop in for tea and biccies to discuss computer matters, crop circles, data protection or any of the wide range of issues he was concerned with.

"What a terrible blow to Louie and all the relations. My heart goes out to them all. He will be terribly missed.

"He was the webmaster for a restaurant in Southsea where I play in a jazz band and he was often in there to listen to us, have a chat, eat and drink. He and Louie were also regular visitors to the meetings of the Southampton Acorn User Group.

"Paul and Louie had both put so much in to the RISC OS Now magazine. He had such an active mind and had so much to live for. Farewell good friend."

Londoner Justine Spencer, who knew Paul since he was aged 12, added: "He never conformed, didn't care what other people thought and just got on with his own thing. He was a one-off, extremely clever, a deep-thinker, a leader rather than a follower, charismatic, charming and a decent man. The mould was broken after Paul arrived.

"He was a true individual. There was nothing mediocre about him. He was a wonderful English eccentric and above all, a loyal friend who kept in contact with all of his school friends. He had a great energy and pursued everything with a passion. He lived life to the full and even in his short life lived more than most of us ever will. Finally, he believed in life after death. Paul, I will miss you. You were part of my childhood and feel like family to me."

Former colleague Ian Burley, of Hemel Hempstead, added: "This is very sad and unexpected news. I worked with Paul for several years and certainly considered him a friend as well as a colleague. I will remember his eccentric but mild-mannered character, and of course his interests in politics and the unexplained, photography, as well as his computing and data communications, through which he made so many friends."

RISC OS Open boss Steve Revill said: "I am very sorry to hear this news. Paul has been a great advocate for RISC OS so we've all lost someone very special."

Writing from Ohio, USA, Chris Steele added: "Paul was one of the very most important contributors to the field of crop circle research on this planet. His courage, generosity, integrity and intellect will always be missed and always remembered. This is a true loss for Mother Earth."


Paul Vigay found dead off Southsea seafront
Body found washed ashore in Southsea from Portsmouth News
Online book of condolence - Rob Kendrick, who created the site, says he intends to print the messages and bind them in a book for Paul's family. The initial newsgroup thread

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This is so sad. To whom will his torch pass? I suspect his massive contribution to the RISC OS community can not be replicated. But that's as nothing compared to the loss of the man.

He will be fondly remembered.

 is a RISC OS Usernemo20000 on 23/2/09 10:29AM
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Only just heard about this. This is very sad news, and my condolences go out to all his friends and family.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 23/2/09 5:36PM
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Just seen this news - to say I'm shocked is an understatement.

Paul was a lovely chap and will be sadly missed. My thoughts go out to his family.

Very sad news indeed.

Dave C (dac, daveac)

 is a RISC OS UserDaveC on 2/3/09 12:50AM
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Very very sad indeed. Such a great man - and a hole never to be filled. As ever, my thoughts to his closest friends and family.

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 2/3/09 9:43AM
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