Remembering our dear friend Richard
The West Cork Heritage Centre, Bandon experienced a great loss on the death of our great friend Richard Conroy on November 28 2016.
I have known Richard for about 25 years. It was about that time he first joined the Heritage Centre and continued to be associated with the centre, serving in many positions over the years and also as a committee member. I will always be greatly thankful to Richard because when he joined us first we had a large debt from our initial start up costs. I discussed this with Richard and true to his ‘get up and go’ approach he said: “Don’t worry. If I am involved I will do my best.” He did do his best and it is mainly thanks to his efforts all those years ago that we were able to clear the backlog. Richard always did his best and the Heritage Centre isn’t the same without him.
Wherever he was, there was great presence about him. His friendly disposition, quick wit and capacity for true friendship were hallmarks throughout his life. He was always in great form. You could never say that he was short of opinions and he could be quite forceful in whatever debate was going on, but when you knew Richard well you saw that his philosophy was that everyone should have an equal chance and everyone had the right to be heard.
That passion to make a difference underpinned everything Richard did. When I first knew Richard he was employed by a newspaper circulating in the Bandon area and was also a sports commentator in a local radio station. He was involved in athletics, soccer and other sports. His interest in sports and his belief that sport was good for people, especially young people never wavered.
He was many years a soccer referee in West Cork. He was chairperson of the Referees Association and was their delegate at national level. He also represented the senior citizens from this area at national level. When I asked him how he got that position he told me “I was the youngest of the candidates and I was accepted!”
In the years before he died, he was seriously involved in organising a community radio station in the Bandon area and I understand he really was the key figure in this endeavour to establish the station which is now nearing completion.
He was also a member of the Bandon Parish Assembly council and last but not least we will always remember him in his various roles in the church pageants. Here he became the actor and he really excelled. We were very proud of him.
As you can now understand, whatever Richard got involved in, he gave it his very best. In this life, Richard used his God given talents to the full and it’s a wonderful thing for anyone to be able to say that their life made a difference. Richard achieved so much in his life and did make a difference.
Above all else though, Richard was a very dedicated and supportive father who wished the best for his children and deeply loved his family.
I wish to express our deepest sympathy to his wife Betty, children Tracy, Edward and Sean, daughter-in-law Cailen, grandchildren, brothers, John, Joe and Edward and sisters Breda, Mary and Kathleen.
It is difficult to imagine that Richard is no longer with us. I will miss him, and all at the Heritage Centre – Billy Good, Robert Hickey, Michael De Courcey, Gerry Hennessy as well as Breda O’Brien and Des Pendergast from Bandon Brinny Group will miss him. But we will not forget him. He will always be in our fondest memories and in our prayers.
Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís.