Published: 16:00, 01 December 2021
| Updated: 08:10, 06 December 2021
A long-serving Kent Messenger advertising manager has died of colon cancer at the age of 59.
Shaun O'Driscoll joined the newspaper business in 1983 and was a well-known face in Ashford and beyond during a career with the company that lasted for more than 25 years.
The father-of-two, who was a passionate musician and a fan of Liverpool football club, had moved to Stanhope from London in the 1970s with his parents, Tom and June, and his younger sister.
He went to St Anselm's Catholic School in Canterbury and in a successful career in the local press he was a much loved and respected figure.
Mr O'Driscoll, who lived in Canterbury Road, Kennington, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, and died peacefully at the Pilgrims Hospice in Ashford on Thursday, November 25.
His two children, daughter Grace and son Declan, recalled childhood memories of shopping trips in towns all over Kent with their mother, Corrine, while their father was out visiting his advertising customers.
Reading a quote from a Manager of the Year award won at the KM in 2006, Grace said: "He is the most approachable and supportive person I've ever had the pleasure of working with. I've never heard a bad word against him, he's well liked in the company and has many friends."
Mr O'Driscoll's sister, Siobhan Park, said: "I think what Shaun was in life, he echoed in his job, and vice versa, to be honest.
"His values, and how important people were to him. An authentic leader."
Zoe Harragan, a KM commercial manager who worked with Mr O'Driscoll, remembered him as an inspiring colleague.
"His commitment and dedication to the Ashford business community shone through in everything he did," she said.
"Shaun was instrumental in gaining the radio broadcast licence for kmfm Ashford, which he was particularly proud of as music was his passion."
Speaking about her brother's illness, she said he had tried to keep a sense of privacy by not sharing his condition in case he troubled anyone.
But even as he was being cared for at the hospice in his final days, his family still found a way to connect him with friends and family by asking for requests for songs which reminded them of him.
"He was incredibly brave throughout everything," she said. "If you'd spoken to him on the phone, he was really eloquent. You would never have thought that he was as ill as he was.
"His love of music and his love of people – and people's love of him – was there right through to the very end."