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Obituary: Paul Sandcraft – sales director made most of his last months

BY the time he was nearly 50, Paul Sandcraft had travelled nearly 900,000 air miles with British Airways – spending the equivalent of 11 weeks aloft, visiting 63 cities and 28 countries.

Travel for Paul, who died from cancer last month aged 49, was the “ultimate love of his life,” said his widow, Sally. So it was no surprise to her that after being given a terminal diagnosis last year, the first thing he did was plan another trip.

She said: “He was a big fisherman all his life and one of the things he wanted to do again was go to the Maldives to go game fishing.

“We went in December but by then I was seriously worried that Paul, who was quite frail, would not be able to stay on a boat out in the ocean for eight hours, let alone stand and fish.

Paul on a safari holiday
Paul on a safari holiday

“But with the help of the absolutely awesome crew, he did and returned with the biggest smile on his face.

“He hadn’t actually caught the huge fish he was holding, the crew had, but it didn’t matter. He had got his wish to go game fishing again.”

Among other wishes Paul wanted to fulfil before he died was having his family altogether for Christmas. He gathered 15 together at Pylewell park, Lymington, paying for them to enjoy his last festive season.

Sally, who met Paul at the Bosun’s Chair pub in Lymington, said: “He wanted to make it to spring so he could have a glass of prosecco out in the garden looking at the beautiful flowers.

Paul loved big game fishing
Paul loved big game fishing

“Sadly, he did not make it but we did get to look out of a window at Oakhaven Hospice to their garden where there were lovely spring flowers and we had prosecco.”

Sally (55) believed that, in his mind, Paul had also accomplished another last wish: to visit the top of the Shard in London where the two would drink Champagne.

She said: “In his last days Paul seemed to be dreaming that we were at the Shard. He would say to me, ‘Get me a glass of Champagne, Sally’. It was funny but lovely too that he thought we had achieved one of his last trips.”

Born and bred in Lymington, Paul started as an apprentice at Lymington Precision Engineering.

He went on to become regional sales director of aerospace sales at T.W. Metals, an American company with a base in Southampton. The job took him all over world.

Sally said: “He loved travelling so much that it was his plan to retire at the age of 55 so we could journey to as many places as possible. He was extremely fit, being a mountain bike enthusiast, and we even have a home gym.”

Paul and Sally met at the Bosuns Chair pub
Paul and Sally met at the Bosuns Chair pub

But in June last year Paul became ill with lower back pain and jaundice. Tests revealed he had pancreatic cancer.

Sally said: “Doctors were very positive at the beginning saying that Paul could have an operation followed by intense chemotherapy to treat it. But a further scan just before the chemo was due to start revealed the cancer had spread to his liver.

“He decided he would do as much as he could with the time left. He loved his dogs, Dexter and Doogie, so walks with them were one of his greatest pleasures in his last months.

“Paul lived a very full life and made lots of friends all over the world. It has been absolutely wonderful to receive literally hundreds of messages from them from places like the USA, Australia and all over Europe.”

A private funeral is to be held on 21st March followed by a celebration of Paul’s life at St Thomas’s Church, Lymington, and a wake at the Pavilion, Pylewell Park, East End.

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