I had only met Ben once. Myself and my wife met up with him and another one of the message board gang, Mark, for a bunch of drinks one night when I was in London for an Arsenal game. Immediately you could see that Ben was a shy guy who was in the grip of an alcohol problem that was intensifying to staggering proportions. Lovely chap but a real mess. Looking back, with what I know now, I reckon we were lucky to get him back home that night and I am glad we went to the extra trouble we did.
Over the following years our initial white hot frenzy of message board activity died down to a part time drop in session. Some of us dropped in more than others. That's the way it goes. Thing is, you do get invested in people's lives and become 'friends',for the want of a better term, online. It sounds stupid I know. How can you be friendly with someone you've never met but there it is. Humanity's need to reach out and connect with like minded people I suppose.
We hooked up online from time to time and Ben seemed to me to be getting a handle on things. He was holding down a job and was in a relationship with a woman. He had weaned himself right off online activities for the most part too it seemed.
I had emailed him a few times and texted the last number I had for him but nothing doing. You tend to move on and I was always happy to see him drop in, on the very few times he did, to our conversations. So the news yesterday from Marius really knocked me back. It's such a tragic end for such an intelligent and fun guy.
Music, movies, tv, sport...especially boxing and football. The guy had a passion for it all and had taste too. Apart from the Chelsea thing obviously. Funny, sweet and gone too soon.
I am just rambling here as I don't really know what to say except Ben Hilton, I am glad I knew ya and glad I met ya. As for the rest of that gang...keep it close and keep'em lit.