We have very sad news. Our friend and colleague Paul Burns has died. Paul was a regular volunteer and fund-raiser for HorseBack UK, but those words are not enough to describe him.
He was an integral and beloved part of the HorseBack family. He was friend, mentor and inspiration. He lost his legs to a bomb in Northern Ireland but up on a horse or on a boat or in the sky, he was unstoppable.
He had been spending a lot of time with us lately, doing striker training, working and riding the horses, helping with the first courses of the year. Each time the car drew up and his familiar smiling face appeared, followed always by his beautiful silver shadow, Fudge the Weimaraner, everyone’s spirits would lift. He had that talent.
He was always filled with energy and good humour, always determined, always fired with plans. He was one of those men for whom anything seemed possible.
The last time we saw him, two short weeks ago, he had just cycled and canoed from Mallaig to Aboyne with the pupils of Banchory Academy on the Across Scotland Challenge. He was wreathed in smiles, in awe of the great spirit of those young people. He could not say enough good things about them. They inspired him, and he inspired them, as he did everyone whose lives he touched.
He was a soldier and a true gentleman. Our thoughts go to his family and his many friends. We shall miss him, and we will remember him well.
The photograph of Paul with Scott Meenagh, on the eve of the Across Scotland Challenge, is one of our favourites. This is how Paul Burns will stay in our minds: laughing, active, about to set off and do something extraordinary.
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