Sunday, 5 June 2011

My Blogging Mentor - RIP Andrew Reeves

I was on the train on my way to Swansea on Friday morning when I heard the news via Facebook. At first, I thought that I'd got my wires crossed and that there must be two Andrew Reeves because the truth of the situation was so incredulous that it surely couldn't be true.

My Blogging Mentor -
Andrew Reeves
But unfortunately, it is and his position within the party was such that it merited this BBC News article on this sad news. To die aged just 43 of a heart attack and just months after his civil partnership with Roger is just heartbreaking.

Like Anders Hanson said of Andrew in his blog, it would usually only be at Liberal Democrat conferences that I would see him and though I didn't know him that well, he was nevertheless someone who I looked up to in the party.

The outpouring of grief on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook demonstrates just how popular and well liked Andrew was. Through his many years of work for the party in England to his life in his current role as Director of Campaigns for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, he engendered loyalty from those who knew him.

Andrew Reeves Running Blog
My particular connection with Andrew was via this very thing that I'm doing now - blogging.

For years I poured gentle ridicule on bloggers but I must admit that since I fully embraced the medium back in September. I have enjoyed it greatly.

Throughout that time, there are certain bloggers and blogs that I have followed more than others. One of those was Andrew Reeves' Running Blog. It always mixed well his interest in politics with all of his other life passions. What I particularly liked was how he had so fully embraced his adopted city's Ice Hockey team. I'm a Cardiff Devils fan on the quiet and despite the fact that the Edinburgh Capitals languished at the bottom of the Elite League, Andrew still supported them avidly and would report back their progress to us on his blog.

The fact that there was clearly more to him than just the politics endeared me to him. In my blogging, I have also tried to demonstrate my many and various passions in a readable and user-friendly way in the same manner as Andrew successively did.

As well as enjoying Andrew's blog and his style of writing, he was also of much support to me when I began blogging properly back in September. For a relative newbie to blogging, I had many technical questions that needed answering and I knew that I could always send Andrew a message on Facebook and he would helpfully reply and encourage my progress. He was all to happy to offer support and it was greatly appreciated. I also copied some of the trademarks that he had on his blog. For example, his was the only blog that I have seen which had a 'Map Counter' on the front page, showing readers how many people have visited the site from different countries from around the world. As a geographic geek on the side, I thought this was brilliant and on asking him where I had to go to download this application, he told me and the same counter now sits on my blog.

So Andrew was a great help to me and in many regards, he was my blogging mentor. I would visit his blog on most days and everything he said always came across in a balanced, reasoned, belieavable and passionate manner.

Everyone who knew him knows that we are all at a loss without him. His sudden death is a great shock to us all and I personally, still can't quite believe and comprehend it. Looking back on his blog, it was less than 48 hours before he was cruely taken away from us that he was blogging about the E-Coli outbreak in Europe and the need to ban the import of cucumbers from Spain as a result.

Now, he's gone and his blog will not be updated from that final entry. It is just mind-bogingly difficult to think that someone with such a zest for life, could be taken away from us so suddenly and without warning.

To show my appreciation to Andrew, I have changed the header to my blog in his memory. His encouragement played a large part in my decision to blog seriously and the example he set with his is one that I have endeavoured to follow and will continue to do so in the future. This gesture will remind me of his support for as long as I continue to blog.

Rest in peace Andrew and thank you for being such a kind and genuine human being.

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