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It is with honest sorrow and heartfelt regret that I am moved to inform of the untimely passing of Paul Spragg of Big Finish.  I am told that this was both sudden and unexpected, with coworkers trading emails with him mere hours prior.

In the short time we’d been working together, I found Paul to be both warm and quite responsive, a true gentleman and scholar of all things Who and Big Finish per se.

Paul clearly read and appreciated each and every review, as we’d exchange emails discussing various points of them, answering various questions and commiserating amiably about points brought up in each, while offering behind the scenes information about why certain things happened as they did, the scheduling difficulties behind various casting decisions (or why others hadn’t been possible at the time) and offering advance info about exciting upcoming events, always based on some point or other brought up in the article du jour.

In short, he was very much on the same page, a likeminded and truly heartfelt fan of Who, Blakes 7 and the various Big Finish lines thereof, as well as being at least conversant with Dark Shadows, The Avengers and more.  We’d chat about various scripts’ merits and weaknesses to a level much more akin to fellow aficionados than ostensible business relations, our discussions showing Paul to be both quite knowledgable and surprisingly amiable throughout.

But more importantly, we really did seem to click personally.  More than a label rep or contact, he’d get me copies of older releases I missed out on and requested, several of which subsequently proved quite prescient and offered much needed insight and contrast to as yet unsuspected upcoming releases (I half jokingly referred to these recurrent incidences as psychic).

Our little chats, while never overbearingly ‘personal’ or intrusive, were of a level far more personable and comparatively intimate than the standard business relationship, approaching a sort of virtual friendship from across the pond.  In fact, we’d often discussed getting together should he ever make his way over to the States as part of the Big Finish contingent at one of the yearly Who conventions (Chicago, Long Island or otherwise).

He didn’t drink, as I discovered early on when extending an offer of a pint or two at some local pub, but some sort of libations were very much on the table in anticipation thereto – I was stumping to get him over here for the October lineup to this effect.  But plan though we may, life rarely goes according to schedule, and our wishes, however heartfelt and well meaning, often go disregarded in the grand scheme of things.

I only hope that this poor tribute to a man with whom I’d been conversant for less than a single year will provide some small measure of comfort and express my sincere sympathies to his loved ones. To say he will be missed would be both an understatement and a cliche.  I remain stunned in writing this.

As I informed friends upon hearing this terrible news late last evening, our lives are both absurdly short and quite unpredictable.  If the sudden and unexpected loss of this wonderful man can truly be said to offer any lesson to the rest of us, it is simply this: be sure to appreciate those you love and respect while you can, and let each and every one of them know how much they mean to you, as often and honestly as possible.

We only have so much time on this planet, and whatever you believe happens afterward, this is the only time we have here, together.  There’s no ‘do-over’, no second chances.

Life is all about relationships, nothing more, nothing less.   Everything else is mere window dressing and distraction.  Make every day count, and give as much love as possible to those in your personal circles.

Further details here: http://www.bigfinish.com/news/v/paul-spragg

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