Paul Manley (68-77C)
Remembering Paul Manley
Paul with Neil, Jamie & Ian
Paul Manley was born in Hampshire, his family moved to North Devon in the mid-sixties and set up home in a wonderful house behind the church in the small village of Heanton Punchardon, near Braunton.
Paul started at West Buckland School in the early 1970s and quickly established himself as a kind, fair and good-humoured boy who enjoyed school life to the full. He made firm friends – many of whom became lifelong companions. A member of Courtenay House, he represented the school in swimming and athletics, but suffered a very bad leg fracture playing in the inter house rugby tournament which prevented him thereafter from becoming a gladiator.
Instead, he developed a real passion for music and the stage. It suited him, he had a good voice, an easy charm and a powerful persona and was a natural show off. He regularly trod the boards, often in women’s clothing, but sometimes not and became a warm favourite of the late Mr Phelps who delighted in Paul’s stage antics. His last performance at school was as Joseph of technicolour dream coat fame. It was a roaring success. He continued to tread the boards locally and in France.
After school, Paul attended Oxford Brookes and read Land Agency. He made many more true and lasting friends and after graduating went to work in London in the real estate market. In typical West Buckland School fashion, he worked hard and played hard and in the early eighties married and moved back to Devon where he began to buy, renovate and sell properties. His first marriage was not to last but in the early nineties he met his true match in Claire and they became a really great team. Both loved the outdoors, both loved to entertain and both loved wine, song and good company. When Paul was around you were never very far from a party.
In 2005 they surprised everyone by selling up and moving lock, stock, barrel and two Jack Russell terriers to the lovely medieval village of Cassiniojouls in the Languedoc region of South Western France. For a bloke who had given up French before his O level he was soon conversing like a local. Typically, he made many French friends and they in their turn, met and became friends with a procession of West Buckland and Oxford Brookes pals who regularly journeyed down to sit with Paul and Claire on the terrace of their converted wine cave, barbequing sausages, drinking the local wines and giggling long into the Mediterranean night to stories containing at least in part, an element of truth.
Sadly, it was not to last. In late 2015 Paul was diagnosed with cancer which he was determined to beat, but despite his stoicism he was taken from us on the 20 Dec 2017. He was a great adventurer and a great friend. He will be remembered by a huge number of folk who came to admire and respect him.
Our thoughts remain with Claire, as he will be sadly missed.