Triumph, Tragedy and Community – Niall Pawsey RIP

Posted on May 6, 2011


This time of year sees students starting knuckle down and get ready for the dreaded exams. It sees the return of the summer balls, and end of year parties, and it also sees the last few weeks for many at KU. This time of year is about preparing for change and progression.

This year’s summer balls all look set to be fantastic. I attended a fantastic evening with the Law Society last night at the Holiday Inn, with a wonderful three course meal, casino games and jazz band. This year’s sports awards are being held once again at Twickenham where the sports students will once again set the pace for a good party. The volunteering awards are also coming up at C-SCAPE at Penrhyn Road, where some fantastic volunteers will be on show, and finally the Society Awards take place this evening at Surbiton Assembly Rooms.

Clearly we have a lot of celebrating planned.

But with also the celebration we have as a university suffered a terrible tragedy. A tragedy that as a law student I felt stronger that most will.

Last week, a friend of mine and a particularly well loved student in the law school died whilst trying to swim from one bank of the Thames to the other. Niall Pawsey, was 20 years old, popular and charming, with a fantastic career ahead of him. His loss is a huge one and we mourn his loss.

But in a strange way there is one good thing that has happened as a result of Niall’s death, as tragic as it was. Not long after I had heard Niall had died, I began to think about an appropriate memorial to him. I have never organised such an event and I must admit I found it very hard to do so. Nonetheless a few short days later I was standing in Hannaford’s bar looking at 100 students and staff, stood together, united in the grief of a lost friend.

Who says we don’t have a community at Kingston?

Community does exist at Kingston and the memorial showed this up for me. Whilst we may not have a community that encompasses all 25,730 students at Kingston, in parts of the university there are strong communities that are close and well founded; the Law School being one example, Knights Park being another. Niall’s death was terribly difficult and sad for many of us, I included, but it highlighted the strength of the community he loved so dearly.

It remains to say that for those of you leaving Kingston after your exams, good luck to you. For those you here for the future, good luck with the exams and I look forward to seeing you around campus over the next few weeks.