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Found out today a friend died, that wasn’t the worst part though, sadly he died in November but I just found out today. Granted we weren’t bosom buddies, we met via a love of AC/DC and participating in a newsgroup, he lived in the North East like me. Dave Ritchie was his name and he’d battled cancer for years, whether it was this that caught him or not I don’t know. He wouldn’t let it get him down though and was in the TA and took up running to keep himself fit and strong to fight it.

We met quite a few times and spent long bus journeys heading for concerts, a 6am start from Newcastle to Milton Keynes for an all day concert, headlined by AC/DC and including The Offspring, Megadeth and Queens of the Stone Age if I recall, we were mainly there for ‘DC. This ended with a journey straight back home getting back to Newcastle at 6am the following morning. We also bussed to London to see them at The Apollo, that was an overnight bus, getting to London at 6:30am and a dash straight to queue at The Apollo as we’d been told first come, fist served for the best seats, was bollocks, they’d already been allocated. Stayed overnight and bussed back following day for that one, staying in Hammersmith.

Another one was ZZ Top at The Apollo in Manchester, early morning we left home and Dave popped to the hospital for an appointment on the way, saying it was quicker to pick me up before than to get me afterwards :-) We saw ZZ Top and headed straight back home, Dave dropping me home at 2am before turning back around and heading the 40 or so miles back home, with me shouting “keep your bloody windows open so the cold air keeps you awake” :-D

When Brian Johnson took some time out from AC/DC to join his ex bandmates from Geordie to do a mini Geordie II tour we were there, The Opera House in Newcastle and The Cellar in South Shields I was at, Dave squeezed in an extra one at a small club where afterwards Brian joined everyone and bought them all drinks, jammy bugger, I missed it :-)

We often chatted on MSN and I designed and hosted his 2 websites for him, our last conversation was back in October when he told me he had a few ideas for the sites but that he had taken a bigger role in the TA and was off to Germany. When I didn’t hear anything for a while I wasn’t worried as our contact was sporadic, if he was out of the country with the TA he’d often be online when I wasn’t and I him. Today though I decided to check out his photography site to see what new pics he’d added and noticed the domain had expired, as had his main personal one, that’s when I googled to see if I could find anything and came across a forum discussion leading to his obituary in his local newspaper.

So the Curse of the Internets is that it’s so easy to keep in touch with people but unlike a phonecall or letter others may not know of you or how to contact you to let you know when something happens. There was actually a bunch of us, from all over the World who would meet up at concerts and it seems none of the others I’ve spoken to knew either.

Yes we may not have been bosom buddies but I’d have liked to pay my respects, we did so much in the short spells we spent together.

So Dave (friend), Captain David Ritchie (TA), MIB (newsgroup monicker) “We Salute You” RIP.

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