Paul Hunter – Two years on

I can’t believe that it has been so long already but tomorrow marks the third anniversary of the death of three-times Masters champion Paul Hunter who as I’m sure everyone reading this blog will be aware lost his battle with cancer in 2006.

I only met him once, back in 2005 immediately following his first round exit to Michael Holt at the World Championship in Sheffield, but it was enough to see what a genuinely nice guy he was. Having recently been diagnosed with his illness, many well wishers and autograph hunters were waiting outside stage door at the Crucible for him to come out, though I wasn’t sure how much he would want to sign with everything going on in his life at that time. In fact he not only came out but he stayed for at least 20 mins, laughing and joking with everyone, signing every single item put in front of him and posing for photographs, including the one on this page.

He really made an impression on me that day and it is this side to him that should be remembered, as well as his terrific ability on the table that would undoubtedly have taken him to the very top of the game in my view.

With the latest night of Premier League action falling tomorrow I hope that Matchroom Sport and SkySports will at the very least give it a mention of some sort. Whether or not there should be a minute’s silence or perhaps a minute’s applause as has happened in football recently I am not so sure but hopefully they will find an appropriate way to remember Paul as his contribution to the sport was something that should not be forgotten…