As a diversion from reblogging things found in the depths of my archive, here is some music, together with a memory of a wonderful friend.
I met Billy O’Neill when he joined the London Ambulance Service. A former Catholic Monk, he later became lead guitarist in a touring band. Then he settled down into a quiet life as a librarian in Camden, before deciding to become an EMT. He was a gentle giant of a man, standing over six feet six tall, and wearing size thirteen shoes.
For some years he worked with me as my regular ambulance crewmate and we became great friends, with a shared love of music. When I moved to Camden in 2000, we lived within sight of each other. He went on to better things in that job, first becoming a Training Instructor, then progressing to the second highest role in the London Ambulance Service. He moved to Oxfordshire, married his partner Ian, and I was proud to be a witness at their civil ceremony. Later on, he was a witness when I married Julie, and Ian made the wedding video for us. On my last ever shift as an EMT, he came to work with me for those final eight hours.
Billy was taken from this world far too soon, devastated by bone cancer. I miss him every day, and always will.
This is one of our favourite songs, and it was always played whenever we socialised.