A tribute to Gary Townsend

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We are deeply saddened by the news that Gary Townsend, chief executive of Albion in the Community (Brighton & Hove Albion’s charitable arm), has collapsed and died whilst on holiday with his partner in Spain, age 43.

Mr Townsend had been working at the club since 2013 and was appointed interim chief executive in March this year, before taking up the post as chief executive earlier this month, after a successful interim period in charge of the charity.

Rockinghorse CEO, Ryan Heal, knew Mr Townsend both professionally and personally, and has paid tribute to him:

“Gary was a doer not a talker, a man of action. He made tough, brave decisions for the good of Albion in the Community and wasn’t afraid of a challenge. Running a local charity is hard, you have to lead from the front. Through Gary’s personal fundraising achievements, he did just that – always taking up the challenge himself – and convincing many others to join him in the process.

“We spent a lot of time together training for last year’s Brighton and London marathons respectively. His commitment in pushing Jadey around the 26 mile Brighton Marathon course in a wheelchair was a truly inspiring and impressive act of humanity. His drive and passion will be sorely missed but will live on in the many people whose lives he helped shape and change for the better forever.

“News like this makes you evaluate just how valuable and precious life is. It’s so important we make the most of every day and attempt something truly special to make a genuine difference to the world around us. This is what Gary did and how he lived his life. Although he’s been taken from us far too young – at just 43 years old – his achievements will be talked about for many years to come.

“Personally, I’ll miss him to talk “shop”, football and running with. Professionally, everyone here at Rockinghorse extends their thoughts and prayers to our counterparts at Albion in the Community, and we’d like them to know we’re here with you, shoulder to shoulder, in this time of tragic loss. His drive and passion will be sorely missed, but will live on in the many lives he helped shape and change. RIP Gary.”

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