A Gentleman. A Legend. My Friend.

By Mike Fletcher, FlyKandy Joint Founder

What can I say about Deano that hasn’t already been said? He was one of my closest and dearest friends. He was a joy to be around. His love of life was infectious. His warmth, his kindness, his generosity were contagious. Spending time with Deano made you a better person.

Tragedy is a word often over used, but never was it so apt. It’s a tragedy that he is no longer in our lives to share his wisdom, kindness and laughter.

He was 50 years old – the youngest 50 year-old that has ever been – he made Peter Pan look like Prince Philip. Yet he did more in his life than most of us would do given 10 lifetimes.

I feel privileged that he chose my family and me to be his friends and privileged that I got to share some of the happiest and most memorable times of my life with him. I wouldn’t change those times for anything. I just wish I had another 30 years with him.

He was instrumental in helping us start FlyKandy, he generously gave me encouragement and knowledge and together we designed our first Jacket…which we’re calling The FlyKandy Ridge DE Pro.

Late into the evening we planned countless filming expeditions to show the jacket off in all its glory. I sometimes imagine just how good they would have been.

Deano was born to fly. It was his life and passion. He died doing what he loved most. It’s the way he wanted to go, I’m not just surmising, he told me one night. No doubt after way too much strong cider. Post flying cider and telling tales was how we tended to spend our nights. Every night was a Friday night with Deano.

He taught me to Paramotor at a little airfield in Spain. I spent 2 weeks learning to fly, drinking beer at night and telling tales with Deano, Kester and other like-minded folk. It was as good as it gets. The following spring he came to stay at my house, it was the first of many visits and we became great mates over the next 7 years.

He’s left a gaping in hole in my family and I’ll miss him for the rest of my life. I’m not sure how I will ever come to terms with this loss – but If everyone that met him can live their lives with just some of his morals and dignity then the world will be a slightly better place.

He wouldn’t want us to be sad, but for everyone that met him it’s hard not to be, heartbroken even. But I’ll try to remember him with a smile and not tears. The sky will never be the same again. Whenever I look up, I’ll think of one of the greatest men I ever knew and how he changed my life for the better.

I miss you my friend. Fly hard, land softly.

 

Pilots.

When we look up, ‘tis with a differing eyes to most men,

For the sky is where

When we were children our dreams were filled with flight

Should I die while playing with natures breath

Rejoice at my life not of my death

Flight is freedom in its purest form,

To dance with the clouds which follow a storm;

To roll and glide, to wheel and spin,

To feel the joy that swells within;

To leave the earth with its troubles and fly,

And know the warmth of a clear spring sky;

Then back to earth at the end of a day,

Released from the tensions which melted away.

Should my end come while I am in flight,

Whether brightest day or darkest night;

Spare me your pity and shrug off the pain,

Secure in the knowledge that I'd do it again;

For each of us is created to die,

And within me I know,

I was born to fly.