BMC Access Rep for Wales and a well-known face in the outdoor and climbing community, Tom Furey died on Saturday 11 June whilst climbing in North Wales. Tom Carrick, BMC Access Officer for Wales and close friend of Tom’s, pays a personal tribute to the well-loved and highly respected outdoor instructor.
It is with great sadness that I must write that Tom Furey sadly passed away on Saturday 11 June after falling off a scramble in Dyffryn Ogwen.
This news has shocked the mountaineering community as well as his close friends and family, and it will take a huge amount of time for everyone to come to terms with this news.
Tom was a local climbing and outdoor instructor, who volunteered for the BMC as the Access Rep for North East Wales. In his role, he had helped with the agreed climbing restrictions in the Eglwyseg Valley, attended site meetings with land owners and conservation bodies, and assisted the Denbighshire Countryside Service with peregrine ringing and also kept an eye on, and replaced some of the lower-offs and decaying fixed equipment at Trevor Rocks, near Llangollen.
His passion for the outdoors was infectious and he positively influenced everyone he met. He went to endless efforts to get to know new people and would talk to everyone at the crag when he climbed (it’s amazing he got any climbing done at all). This has been shown by the seemingly endless tributes sent through social media of memories people had of him.
Tom Furey (right) and Tom Carrick (left) in the Himalayas
Ever since leaving school he has worked in the outdoor industry in one capacity or another - more recently he worked mostly on mountain leader training and assessments. Over the last couple of years, he spent more time on a Mountain Leaders’ camp than at home, but he was always there for his fiancée and mum. He was constantly planning new trips, adventures and business ideas, he was a man that lived every day to the full and never missed an opportunity.
This has been especially difficult for me to write this on behalf of the BMC Cymru as I’ve known Tom for around thirteen years, and remember him jumping out of his Red Vivaro at Llanymynech. This short bouncy, energetic and passionate man became one of my best friends and climbing partners over the next decade. He inspired me to become the person I am now and along with some banter, worked closely with each other to work our way up through the mountaineering qualifications, to travel across the world bumping into each other with World Challenge Expeditions in the most unlikely of places.
We have sometimes ended up in the strangest of friendships, he looked after me after I vomited on his tent in Nepal, he walked in on me having a shower when he had severe diarrhoea, and for years helped each other through tough times. He was always there on the other side of the rope if I was trying something hard, he would normally solo up after I was finished.
He was forever perfecting his lightweight kit and would always have the newest and best kit. If he started a new sport he would have bought the top kit before he had had his first lesson, and then given up six months later.
It's hard to imagine that he’ll no longer be with us. I was excited for his wedding this year and over the last five years became good friends with his fiancée, his almost-identical twin and soul mate. He loved her dearly and I got to see their relationship grow over the years.
He will be sorely missed by everyone who ever knew him, and the world will be a quieter and less bright place without him.
Tom’s fiancée Katie has established a fundraiser for the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team in Tom’s memory:
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