Mickey Blue Eyes
There are times when a tragic event places life in greater perspective. Such a moment arrived yesterday when I received a text from Paul Wharton telling of the sad, unexpected passing of Tony Heslop in his middle fifties. He leaves his wife Angela of many years.
I cannot claim Tony as a close friend but I can say I recognised a good and decent man when I met him. The world is a better place with warm and gentle human beings in it. It just happens to be our good fortune that he was a tireless Evertonian with much to be proud of. He was a quietly spoken man of strong convictions and loyalties, the opposite of petty chauvinists and haters who tag onto the game. His commitment was total and irreplaceable in the Ruleteros Society, the Everton Collection and Everton Heritage.
I first met him through the Ruleteros Society, which he helped found and administer with equally indefatigable John Shearon. He, John and Paul were responsible for organising a wonderful two weeks long trip to three South American Evertons in June of 2009. I was fortunate enough to be on that tour; thanks to the effort of all three all I had to do was turn up and enjoy the experience. Tony, fluent lecturer in Spanish and French, was also remembered affectionately by our South American friends in Chilé, Argentina and Uruguay who had a photo gallery of his previous visits. Unfortunately he was unable to be in the 2009 visiting party and was sorely missed.
He and John were the main organisers and motivators in setting up the Everton V Everton de Viña del Mar (Chilé) match at Goodison on August 4th 2010. It was a memorable occasion. Both of them were present on the pitch when the Friendship Cup was presented at the end of the game, the culmination of an amazing life time effort to forge links between the two clubs. One can only imagine the sense of personal fulfilment this gave. We all hope one day the match will be repeated in Chilé. It would be a fitting tribute to Tony.
Tony Heslop, a gentle man and a gentleman. Much missed and much loved by Angela and all those who appreciate good human beings. He was and is truly One Of Us.