As is sadly so often the case after the Christmas/New Year period, the Old Paradians’ Association must report the loss of a number of former students of the College.

On the evening of Tuesday, January 9, Luigi (Louis) Follacchio (2007) died in the Alfred Hospital from serious injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in Bali a little over three weeks previous.

Twenty-six year-old Louis (pictured), was the son of Ross and Roberta, and brother to Kara.

Through the establishment of a Facebook fundraising page “Help Bring Louis home”, loved ones were able to realise that aim, and Louis was relocated to the Alfred where he died surrounded by his family and friends.

On January 12, Gerard Sharkey (1959) died after a long illness. News of Gerard’s passing was conveyed by Jim Davis, the Honorary Secretary of the Royal Australian Engineers Association (Vic) Inc. for whom LT Col Gerard was a sapper.

“Gerard Sharkey had a very long association with the RAE reaching the rank of Major before he transferred across to the Pay Corps where he obtained the rank of Lt Col,” Jim said.

“Some of the RAE Squadrons that Gerry served in were 104, 107 (where he was OC), 203 and 22 Regiment.

“Lt Col Sharkey contributed over 30 years to his military career, most of which was as an engineer. In civilian life Gerry was an engineer and had a long career with the Country Roads Board where he reached the position of Right of Way Engineer. After his retirement from the CRB, he joined VCAT where he served as a sessional member for many years.”

Gerard’s nephew Luke Thomas, a final year Parade College student of 1988, also contacted the Association to advise that his uncle had died.

On January 19, David Heffernan – a former Old Paradians’ Association Amateur Football Club committeeman and father of the club’s former Captain and Best & Fairest Adrian - died at the age of 70 after a long battle with cancer.

Remembered as a genuine character and hard-working club identity over many years, David, who is survived by his wife Kathy and his son, was the driving force behind the Old Paradians’ VAL professional gift meetings from 1997 to 2002. He was also a willing participant in the Association’s annual golf days.

Finally, on January 29, the Association was shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Paul Fenton, a final year student of Parade’s 1983 College class.

Five years ago, Paul was amongst old friends at a 30-year reunion of classmates of the ’83 year – an occasion he very much enjoyed. He is pictured on reunion night second from the left in this photograph with, from left, Barry McBrearty, Garry Miller and John Rodgers.

News of Paul’s death was first conveyed online by the Greensborough Football Club for whom he had represented through the late 1980s and early ’90s. The club reported that Paul was a staunch sponsor and advocate throughout “and always provided any assistance he could to the club and the wider Greensborough Football Club community.

Paul is survived by his father David, wife Johane and sister Chrissie. No funeral details have been released at the time of publication.

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