A Tribute to Paul Vigay
Paul Vigay, a Gentleman, and RISC OS Legend
The recent announcement of the sudden and unexpected death of Paul Vigay brought shock and sadness to the entire RISC OS community. To many people he could almost be referred to as Mr RISC OS. He was one of the biggest supporters of the platform, constantly campaigning for it and endlessly writing new pieces of software for us to use. He would never ever give up on RISC OS and jump ship and use Windows PC's like so many others did.
However he wasn't just known for his involvement in RISC OS computing, he was also involved in Crop Circle groups, protecting peoples privacy, online security and very interested in conspiracy theories in general. He also ran his own internet company - Orpheus Internet. He was known throughout the world, within many groups of different subjects and was everybody's friend.
He always there to help and advise people with their computing problems, whatever they maybe, he was always there on the newsgroups or emailing you with help, solutions and comments.
Everybody will have their own memories and experiences with Paul, I would just like to mention some of mine here. I never met him, but emailed him often and spoke to him on the phone a few times.
It wasn't until I upgraded from my BBC Micro, to the A3000 that I became aware of Paul. I'm sure if I dug out old copies of Acorn User and other old Acorn magazines that I would find his name mentioned. It was when I started collecting public domain software that I became fully aware of Paul, and discovered the many programs he had written, games, useful applications, desktop sillies, and he even wrote a virus to prove that it could done, the infamous VigayVirus!
My first main dealing with Paul was, as I am sure would be the case for many others, when I went online with Argonet. I chose Argonet because of Paul. IT was then an easy choice to switch to Orpheus Internet, because I knew the support and service would be first class, and indeed it was. I knew that if I had a problem there would be someone at the end of the phone (not just a call centre dummy) who knew what RISC OS was and they would be able to help me.
When I made the change from DialUp to Broadband, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when setting up account details and was got myself in a right old mess. Paul was more than happy for me to ring him up, out of office hours and during the evening (more than once) and help me along the way. With his guidance I got online with Orpheus Internet and I still use Orpheus to this day.
When I had some internet connection problems at home I would often email him from work at 7.30AM and within half an hour there would be a reply my inbox offering help and advice. Often there was an offer to give him a call when I got home if I still had a problem. This was absolutely first class support, with Paul going that extra mile every single time.
He was always interested in chatting about anything, although the initial email would be related to RISC OS it would often go off in different directions, with all manner of subjects discussed.
One day online I found an anti Microsoft website, and I knew straight away who was behind that, I emailed him and he said, "Yep that's me, just haven't decided what to with it yet!"
If I ever had anything interesting to with RISC OS I always emailed him to tell him about it. He was always interested and pleased to hear about it. For example; when I managed to get Manic Miner running on the Iyonix after obtaining the source code and giving it to Alan Buckley, who made the changes, it was made a RISC World exclusive. I then told Paul what was happening as I knew he didn't subscribe as he had said that he didn't like CD magazines and preferred the printed version. So I said I could send it on to him anyway, which I did and he was very appreciative of it.
I also bought a fair few old Acorn games off him too, from one of his many website clearouts of old software. Unfortunately one of them had the disc missing, he promised he would look in the attic to find the disc, he never found it, but neither of us expected it to appear, but we both still went with it for quite a while before we gave up!
My final piece on Paul shows what a kind, helpful person he was. A few years ago I was asked by Richard Hanson of Superior Software, if I still had a BBC Micro with 5.25" disc drive or did I know anyone who did. The reason was that one of their level designers had hundreds of Repton levels from the BBC days on disc and they wanted to get them up and running again and use them in the new PC versions.
Unfortunately I couldn't help, as the disc drive which I thought was in my loft, was no longer to be found. So I asked around via the newsgroups and eventually I asked Paul if he was able to help. He replied saying that he would be happy to help as he still had the relevant equipment in the loft.
So I sent him the discs. Unfortunately he was unable to get them transferred largely due to ancient failing BBC hardware, I think one machine actually blew up on him (BBC B's can do this - ED). So the discs came back to me in the end, thankfully Alan Griffin was able to help out and over 200 levels were recovered.
It all shows the sort of person Paul was. He was willing to give up his time, locate ancient computer equipment to help out with a project that wasn't of any use to him, and all for a game that he was unlikely to play as these levels were designed to be used on a Windows version of Repton.
I am sure many more stories could be added by the RISC OS community about Paul giving up his time to help others out. I have nothing but thanks and praise for such a genuinely nice and decent person. The comments about him in the online book of condolence at http://www.paulvigay.org shows how much he was liked and admired, and how shocked and saddened people are by this tragedy.
Thank you for everything Paul, rest in peace.
(I can only echo Matt's words. Paul's untimely death has left a huge hole. Paul's Funeral took place on Monday the 16th of March. Paul's family asked that instead of flowers could mourners please make a suitable donations to the Hillside Animal Sanctuary - ED)