Paul O’Connor was loved.
We knew him as Paulo, Sweet P, Small Paul and Pinkyblue.
Pauls intelligence and wit were dazzling, his impressions and sublime sense of irony entertained and moved us all.
His passion for horticulture became something that organically grew to become part of his life, through his work, his involvement with guerilla gardening, the advice he offered to his less green fingered friends and the magical haven of his roof terrace.
Pauls creativity fed into not only into his gardening but also his singing, his love of film, his artwork, his writing, his cooking and his love of bold and vibrant patterns and colours.
Ever the Francophile Paul had an affinity and attraction to the French language, its culture and, naturellement, its men.
Paul had a strong social conscience, an energy and drive for making things better that was so much a part of him. He felt everything, ever sensitive to the smallest human cries for help, all the while being able to maintain a dry sense of humour.
His charms, talents, strengths, complications and weaknesses were an intoxicating source of our adoration.
Sadly, the shadow of depression fell over Paul and darkened his light. Paul found it increasingly difficult to love and care for himself and in late December 2015 our dear friend lost his struggle and took his own life.
We have been devastated by his loss but we know his place over the rainbow is guaranteed. We miss him deeply and we know many others his life touched feel the same.
This year we want to celebrate Paul and everything he loved, together with all the people he loved through an event held in his memory.
We are opening this page up to raise funds for the following:
June 5th 2016 - Gingko Tree Dedication Ceremony and gathering in Brockwell Park
1:30pm - 5:30pm : Top of the hill inbetween the cafe and the community greenhouses.
Paul volunteered in the Brockwell Park Community Garden. The Gingko Tree (a favorite of Pauls) overlooks the part of South London he cared for so deeply and act as a lasting spot where we can forever go to remember him.
Everyone is invited to the ceremony. It will be a memorial occasion and space for us all to remember Paul. We will be naming the Gingko for Paul and planting other plants in the community garden in his memory. Weather permitting there will be a picnic and other fabulous things our Paul would have appreciated. For those who wish to join us into the evening also we hope to finish things off with a bang ;)
Please bring a picnic blanket (if fair weather) and picnic, a paper based memory of Paul and any baked goods you'd like to bring for the tea after the tree naming.
Tree naming is at approx 3-3:45pm.
Possible event for 2017 - Charity Film and Comedy Event
An event including short films, comedy and a favourite feature (of Ps) to raise awareness of mental health as well as raise funds for charities with a focus on mental health, suicide prevention and horticulture as a form of therapy. These charities will be:
The venue will be in South London, more details to follow.
Any surplus funds raised on this page following the memorial event will be donated to the following charities:
BDD - Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation is the only UK charity to support those suffering with this disabling condition - http://bddfoundation.org/
MayTree - A sanctuary for the suicidal - www.maytree.org.uk
Forest Farm Peace Garden - a community food growing garden in Hainault, London with an ecotherapy programme - https://forestfarmpeacegarden.wordpress.com/
St Mary's Secret Garden - a community garden in Hackney, London providing a safe space and ecotherapy activities for vulnerable community members - http://www.stmaryssecretgarden.org.uk/
We will be in touch with more information and greatly look forward to sharing yours and our memories and love for P at any of the above occasions.
In the meantime please do visit Paul's online memorial page which features photos and memories of Paul plus excerpts from Pauls own blog from his time living in Paris:
Anne, Cara, Laura and Paul.