Brendan Gallagher – a class apart

Sunday 29 May 2011 was a sad day for aviation journalists everywhere as we lost one of our finest, Brendan Gallagher, and we lost him too soon, when he still had so much to offer the world.

Warm, kind, humorous, skilful and talented are all adjectives that I have heard applied to Brendan – who was fondly known as The Badger – since his sudden death was made known. I count myself fortunate to have worked alongside him and to have seen all those qualities in abundance and to have been the recipient of his kindness.

Brendan was already a legend to me long before I met him. While working at the Royal Aeronautical Society as deputy editor to J.M. (Mike) Ramsden, I was told the tale of Brendan’s interview at Flight when JMR was editor there. How much of the story is apocryphal I don’t know, but evidently Brendan pitched up for his interview in a donkey jacket and jeans. JMR reportedly asked Brendan why he thought arriving at an interview in such apparel would help him get the job, to which he received a reply along the lines of “because I think you are looking for someone to do a good job for the magazine and not someone who is aiming to be a fashion icon”. Brendan got the job.

I finally got to work with him when he was editor of Inflight magazine and of Inflight Online at the Shephard Press. His knowledge of the inflight entertainment and communications (IFEC) industry was right up with the best. And he was unfailingly supportive if others around him were ever having a tough time. “The paper’s looking good, old boy,” was one of his great lines – and coming from him, it always did the job.

Some people with great talent know it but display it with (sometimes false) modesty, but I don’t think Brendan was ever modest about his talent because I simply don’t think he knew how good he was. And I’ll always thank him for teaching me the journalist’s prayer – “Oh Lord, please don’t let today be the day that I get found out!”

To say we will miss him is an understatement. Yet we cannot come close to the hole his departure will leave in the lives of his family. We wish them all sympathy and strength as they come to terms with their loss.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines

A few words from Down Under
I can’t stop thinking of Badger, he was such an inspirational man in so many ways and thanks to him I ended up in a whole new area of aviation journalism – IFE, comms, ATM etc. He was the original IFEC journo – writing about the topic way before anyone else was interested in it. He will be very sadly missed.

Emma Kelly, Asia-Pacific correspondent, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/Inflight
(Emma worked alongside Brendan at Flight and Inmarsat and is now based in Western Australia)

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