Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008:
Rest in peace, John Aherne -
A day of sadness in Helsingborg,
Stockholm, and Wicklow, Ireland

What I think:

I'm very sad to relay the news that John Aherne, an Irish tourist who went missing in Stockholm over St Patrick's Day weekend, has drowned.

His body was recovered just before midday in the water at Norra Hammarby harbour, in the southern part of central Stockholm.

I'd written a couple of posts about John's mysterious disappearance, and had been hoping that he would be found safe and well. This is truly tragic, and my deepest heartfelt condolences go out to John's family and friends.

The events, from when John went missing, to when the news broke, and leading right up until I sit here writing this, are covered quite touchingly on the discussion forum on The Local (Sweden's news in English). 

It starts with Karl (John's host in Stockholm) explaining the circumstances surrounding John's disappearance, and the other regulars then offer help, support, hope and prayers (which they maintain throughout). 

The forum is then visited by many, many people from Ireland, some of whom take the opportunity to post comments to offer their gratitude, and to add to the voices of hope. 

A good few of these "newbie" posters are from John's hometown of Wicklow, and some spirit-raising anecdotes about growing up there are shared, while the agonising wait continues.

And then... 

I went to a meeting this morning, and got back at around 2:30 p.m. I went straight onto the computer, and over to for an update. I was immediately saddened to see the headline "Body of missing Irish tourist found" staring back at me.

I went to the discussion forum, and decided to read from where I'd left off last night (on page 59 - it was now up to page 69). Knowing what I now knew, it was unbearably sad to read what had been written late last night and earlier today. And reading the comments from around the time when the news started to come through became heart-wrenching. 

So, now I'm grieving for someone I've never met, and feeling so very, very sorry for others I don't even know. 

If it can be said that anything at all good has come out of this very sad and tragic loss, I think it would be the fact that John's disappearance has brought two communities very solidly together: one "cyber" community on The Local, and one very real, living, breathing, remembering community, in Wicklow town, Ireland. 

And it goes to show that, even though most of us in the cyber-world will go to great lengths to protect our anonymity, no one can deny that the "regulars" on The Local are indeed very real, very caring individuals.

Once again, deepest condolences to John's family and friends (special regards to Karl), but also a huge hug to the totally amazing people on The Local - you guys are great.

Finally to John Aherne: Rest in peace, mate. 
From what I hear, we would have gotten along well. That's what I think.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark, your words have left my lost for mine. I have a feeling that all else going on around me is irrelevant. Thank you.

4:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So beautiful and eloquent, Mr. Base.

6:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent blog Mr Base, I'm feeling numb at the moment so don't think I could have put it better myself.

6:52 pm  
Blogger Bird30 said...

I just keep returning to your page to read this, it's lovely. Thank you.

8:01 pm  
Blogger Tug said...

Oh...I'm so very sorry to hear this Mark.

9:08 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Mark,

I wanted to post on thelocal as I have been reading the thread and the news stories for days now. Alas, I must wait 48 hours.

I just wanted to say how impressed I was and am by the reaction of the locallers. It truly was touching.

I have written my own blog post about John and just thought I would pass it on to you.

Kind regards,


10:21 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Apologies, here is the link:

10:23 pm  
Blogger ANNA-LYS said...

R.I.P. John!

Nice blog Hälsingborgare!

10:14 pm  

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