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The Paul that I knew

I got to know Paul Iredale after he left Reuters in 2000 for medical reasons. I live not far from his house in Chislehurst and we shared a liking for pubs and the sea.

We were both regulars at the Red Lion, an “old man’s pub” in Bromley. Chris, the landlord, and many of his customers were saddened by the news of Paul’s death.  

His love of sailing began at his school in Ramsgate on the Kent coast. Apart from his time in Hong Kong, there was little opportunity to sail during Reuter postings, but retirement gave him more scope. He gained a Royal Yachting Association Coastal Skipper qualification, which enabled him to charter sailing yachts. We had three marvellous cruises in the eastern Mediterranean with Hugh Pain, Mike Hughes, Colin McIntyre and Peter Gregson, our days spent in a gentle alcoholic haze.

In 2006 he bought a 33 foot yacht, which he sailed extensively along the coasts of Kent, Essex and northern France. He made his last trip across the Channel last summer, a remarkable achievement for someone in his state of health.  

Paul had a considerable streak of idealism. He stood, unsuccessfully, as a Social Democratic Party candidate in a local election in south east London in the early 1980s, was a governor of three schools and a lifelong, and at one time a very active, member of the NUJ. 

He bore his long illness with great fortitude and dignity. In all the conversations I had with him about it there was never the slightest hint of self pity. Sometimes, when I asked how he was, he would go into details; on other times he would just give a mischievous smile and say “still here”. 

Paul was widely admired for his courage and integrity and is sorely missed. ■