This isn’t my usual type of post, but I really want to take a few minutes to remember a friend.
As I wobbled back to my desk last Friday morning, jelly-legged and pink-faced from cycling, I looked over at his desk and couldn’t help but think if he was still with us he would, probably, have said something like “Ah Jaysus, sure you were only on the bike for 7 minutes!!” and then had a little giggle at my expense.
That was Andy, always joking and laughing – no matter what was going on around the office. Even on a Friday evening, when panic levels were high, copy was missing and the next day’s newspaper was on the line, he would be calm as a cucumber.
He would pick up the phone, have a chat with someone about their weekend plans, enquire how so-&-so was doing, and then casually ask if they could do him a favour. Sometimes he would get so engrossed in his chats I would wonder in amusement; does he remember why he rang them?!
But again, that was Andy, he just seemed to have time for everyone. And in return, I don’t think there was a person in our industry who wouldn’t have dropped whatever they were doing to take his call.
Anyone who knew Andy would vouch for what a tremendous person he was. I have a lot of gratitude that I got the chance to work with him over the last few years. I’ll always remember going to him for advice about 2 years ago when I wasn’t sure where my career was heading. He gave me some guidance and told me not to worry; “Great things are going to come your way Rach.”
Andy believed in everyone.
So, it’s only natural now that everyone would want to show how much they cared for him too. An amazing team of Andy’s friends have been working tirelessly to get the ball rolling over the past few weeks and a fundraising task is underway.
All funds that get raised will go to Andy’s family and his three young children, to offer some support for their future, something I have no doubt that Andy would have worked hard for himself.
So, what has been happening? Well, last week a sponsored cycle was held in our office. Between us all we cycled 228KM! (Not bad considering some of us haven’t been on a gym bike in about five years.) And tonight, Andyfest – a celebration of Andy’s life – is being held in Twenty Two on South Anne Street. We are looking forward to a night of music and comedy (so fitting considering Andy’s own razor sharp wit).
Prizes and gifts for the night have been donated from all corners of the country and the guys on the organising team said that the support they have received has been “overwhelming”. All proceeds from tonight will go to Andys young family too.
As I said, this isn’t my usual type of blog post, but I wanted to stand up and give a nod towards the man who made us all laugh every day (and maybe shine some light on the fundraising in the process). Laughter was such a huge part of who he was, even the photo you see above had a joke behind it. Andy rocked a shaved head (for all the time I knew him), but a couple of years ago when he was given the job of MC for the night at our work conference, he decided to bring some style to the role and turned up in the wig you see in the photo – just for the fun of it.
It’s been 9 weeks since my colleagues and I received the heart-breaking news that Andy had passed suddenly. The dust may have settled, but the sadness and loss of such an amazing part of our work family is still felt every day.
He will be remembered and missed always.
A go fund me page has been set up for tonight’s event if anyone would like to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/andrew-mcdermott-fund
Written with love,