Friends gather to say farewell to ‘friendship broker’ Paul Flackett

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Friends and family of Paul Flackett gathered at London’s QEII Centre to bid bon voyage to the former MD of IMEX. The memorial was hosted by IMEX and was a bittersweet occasion with friends able to talk about their memories of the 69 year-old, who died in November, during an 'open mic' session.

Padraic Gilligan wrote a song specially for the occasion, and performed it ably assisted by vocal support from Paul Miller and James Rees. It was called “Not Bad For A Boy From Birmingham”, a poignant line often said by Flackett during the many successes in his illustrious career. There were tears and laughter in equal measure and friends wore red in recognition of Flackett’s love of Manchester Utd. Ray Bloom had to set aside his usual blue for Brighton to don the shirt so beloved by Flackett. At the end of the evening, Bloom presented a gift to Flackett’s daughter Natalie – a No 7 shirt autographed by her father’s hero, Bryan Robson.

Friends travelled from all corners of the globe to attend the memorial. One of them, global general manager of Maritz Global Events Ben Goedegebuure, said: “It was a glorious event for a wonderful gentleman and a friend to all. I feel privileged to have been part of this evening filled with love and true respect. It really had the right tone – sad and joyous at the same. Paul will be remembered for the great man he was.”

Rick Antonson, former head of the Vancouver Convention Bureau, travelled from Canada to attend and told the audience that Flackett was the consummate builder of relationships. “He was a broker of friendships”, he said.

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