Chris Hewitt alerted us with the very sad news that there was an Obituary in the Ealing Gazette. This was 23rd May and we were told that Paul had died nearly three weeks earlier seemingly after the West Brom game. I saw Paul after the game, it’s that time when you wish others a good summer and tell them: “See you next season.” He came over to me and we spoke briefly, I can’t remember what was said, it was probably something about the referee and he then walked off down South Africa Road.
Loyal QPR Fan Paul ‘Had A Heart Of Gold’ – Ealing Gazette Obituary
Tribute has been paid to a well-loved and distinctive character who died earlier this month. Hanwell man Paul Gooch, 61, was a loyal QPR fan with a great sense of fun who will be missed by the many people who knew him. Close friend Nigel Bakhai who knew him for ten years said: “Paul hadn’t the easiest life but he had a heart of gold and was very popular around Ealing. He had a great sense of humour and always believed in seeing the funny side, no matter what happened. Everyone that knew him was very sad to hear about his death.”
Mr Gooch was believed to have died of natural causes after collapsing near his home on Sunday 4th May. He was taken to Ealing Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He has no known next of kin.
Mr Bakhai, parliamentary candidate for Ealing Central and Acton, was told about his death by a neighbour. He said he got to know Mr Gooch when they would attend meetings of the Liberal Democrat Party. He added: “Paul did a lot of work for the party. He was always helping out and he was a regular at by-elections. We lived on the same road at Azalea Close in Hanwell, so I got to know him very well. He grew up in Shepherds Bush and used to work at the Royal Parks, which he loved, although sadly he lost his job about ten years ago.” Mr Gooch was a regular fixture at QPR games, both home and away, and a keen amateur referee. His funeral is likely to be in a couple of weeks and should be followed by a drink at his local pub, ‘Lavins’ in Hanwell. Mr Bakhai added: “It’s only fair that we have a pint in Paul’s honour.”
The Funeral Directors were W Sherry & Sons, who are R’s fans themselves and It was to be nearly another seven weeks before Paul was finally laid to rest. The coffin was draped in a Rangers flag and there must have been between forty and fifty mourners assembled in the Mortlake crematorium chapel, close to Chiswick Bridge, including Stan Bowles who also said a few words about Paul. One of the other speakers was Bernard Lambert (Kerrins) who went to the same junior school as Paul, Victoria in the Bush and he recalled a couple of stories from the 50’s. Cameron Collington, vicar of St Simon’s Church in Rockley Road and also one of the Club Chaplains, took the service. There were no family members present but we are his extended family. After the service, Kerrins and I set off for ‘Flavins’ in Hanwell, courtesy of Clive Kingham. This used to be Paul’s local and we raised a glass with the Guvnor and some of the regulars. They all had very fond memories of him and total respect.
We extend our thanks to Liz and Paul Finney at Funky Flowers for doing the flowers on behalf of the Indy R’s. Bev worked very hard trying to trace any surviving relatives and apparently Robert Elms mentioned the funeral on his Radio Show. I remembered Paul from when I first travelled to away games on the Supporters Club coaches in the 60’s and usually saw him before or after most games. Apart from the R’s, he had his preferred chosen topics of course, referees, parks and politicians mainly. He was a colourful character and will be sadly missed by many.
God Bless Paul…Rest in Peace