The death of Pat Farey, the widely respected sporting writer and editor, will come as shock not only to his many friends and colleagues in the shooting world, but to all those who dealt with this remarkable, kind and generous, man.
Pat was born in the East End of London, Forest Gate, in 1953, in the month that the Korean War ended. His mother died in childbirth, and he was brought up by his older sister, Jean. As a child in the East End, one of his favourite activities was playing with his toy soldiers and knocking them down with a cannon loaded with matchsticks. He also enjoyed fishing (but thought it cruel), and began what became a lifelong passion: supporting West Ham Football Club.
He was a bright child, passed the 11-plus exam and attended East Ham Grammar School. His family worked as steel erectors, but he went into the white-collar world of insurance initially. This did not last long, but long enough that he met his future partner, Linda, who survives him. They married in 1978, living at Upton Park, before moving to Langdon in Essex, and since 1992, Leigh-on-Sea. Pat soon joined his brothers and father ‘on the steel’ and went with them to work at the Isle of Grain power station, where he later became a shop steward.
On shift work at the power station, and with involvement in union affairs, he discovered a love of writing and developed the skill. He was also developing an interest in guns and shooting at this time – not what might be expected of a shop steward with an aversion to fieldsports. Pat began writing articles about 25 years ago, first becoming a contributor to Gun Mart magazine.
When James Marchington left as editor in 1996, such were Pat’s sporting knowledge, Mensa-level intellect and literary skills that he took over the editorial chair. He wrote countless pieces on airguns, and also expertly on knives. In addition to his demanding journalistic and editorial duties (he was a particularly gifted ‘sub’), he authored books, including an encyclopaedia of knives and a work on sniping, and edited a number of annuals relating to guns and shooting. He even found time to complete an Open University degree.
Pat had a particular gift of friendship throughout his life. One colleague noted: “He was a great guy – warm, always with time to chat, always empathetic.” Another observed, “He was probably the most generous and the kindest man that I’ve met and one of the best storytellers.” A shooting pal commented: “Such a kind, generous, person, he always gave, never took. When we went to shooting shows, you would often find him there with a group of people listening to a story. People loved listening to him.”
These will be sentiments much shared at the moment. Pat loved shooting and the society of shooters. He was a member of the Thames Estuary Gun Club among others, and regularly shot locally and at Bisley. As well as a collection of airguns, he owned a Sharps .45-70, a Remington 700 in .308, an Anschütz .22 semi-automatic and a Beretta 303 shotgun. His shooting interests, like his life and circle of acquaintances, were diverse. He is much missed. All his many friends will raise a glass, fire a shot, and send condolences to his dearly loved wife Lin. Pat you were one of the best.
Obituary by Mike Yardley.