Hundreds farewell Andy with a lap of love
A sea of red. A flood of memories. A lap of love around a running track.
This is how more than 550 colleagues and friends honoured the memory of Superintendent Andy Naylor at Sai Kung Stadium on August 18 a week after his tragic death in a New York ironman event.
The red symbolised his beloved Liverpool Football Club; vivid memories recounted a respected colleague and dear friend; the running track was his 'home away from home' as a runner, mentor and coach.
News of Andy's death in the swim leg of the ironman on August 11 - an event for which he had trained with his usual great determination - has left colleagues, friends and sports-mates in deep shock.
As Andy's wife Lynn put it in a heartfelt note to friends on the day of his death: "It gives me some comfort that Andy died doing something he loved but we will miss him sorely. He was everything to us and it is going to be a hard journey ahead for all who knew and loved him."
Lynn and their three daughters Katelyn, Tara and Sasha bravely led the lap of honor at the Sai Kung Stadium, where Andy spent many hundreds of hours pounding the synthetic track in his own pursuit of sporting excellence, as well as coaching runners and triathletes and budding rugby stars for the Sai Kung Stingrays minis.
Such were the numbers who attended his tribute that by the time Lynn and her daughters finished their lap of honour, the last of the group had just left the starting line which formed a ring of people surrounding the entire track.
Tributes to Andy have been pouring in from across Hong Kong and around the world - too many to mention, or indeed to do justice to his achievements and contributions to the community.
The rugby, athletics, cycling and triathlon communities remember a superb athlete, coach, mentor and fierce competitor - as well as a big-hearted 'hero' of the Matilda Sedan Chair Race charity which benefited greatly from Andy's energy, enthusiasm and organisational prowess as Race Director over the past decade.
Police colleagues recall a highly professional and ethical officer, who applied the same rigour and dogged determination to his work as he did to his sporting pursuits.
And, everyone remembered his smile - that trademark grin that would light up a room, make you laugh yourself or, as often was the case, provide some solace to a competitor vanquished in a race.
And while Andy's sporting achievements will be long remembered, his positive approach to life and work, generous nature and great love of his family will remain the greatest legacy of his short time with us.
Andy was a "Kowloon man" for a good part of his Police service. He had two tours in Yau Tsim District, his first posting in 1993 as a fresh-faced "one-pip" and to which he returned as District Operations Officer from 2006-2009. He worked in the Emergency Unit Kowloon West from 2002-04 and in the Security Unit Kowloon West from 2004-2006.
For the past three years, he worked at Criminal Intelligence Bureau in Police Headquarters overseeing strategic intelligence, local and international law enforcement liaison and the triad expert team.
Long-time commanding officer in Yau Tsim District, and later in CIB, Chief Superintendent Simon So Kam-sing described Andy as an "exceptionally good officer with meticulous planning skills and a strategic mind".
"In Yau Tsim he was District Operations Officer responsible for planning the Police deployment and crowd safety for many large-scale events such as the fireworks display, Chinese New Year parade and even the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay," said CSP So.
"He always excelled himself in this work and he always provided valuable advice. He was a great asset to the Force and it is tragic that we have lost an officer of such high calibre and potential."
His former Formation Commander at PTU HQ, Senior Superintendent B J Smith, recalls not just a highly competitive officer, but also one with a quick mind.
"The first thing that struck me about Andy was his intelligence. He just had the ability to get to the core of a problem and identify what needed to be done," said SSP Smith.
"He was a very confident officer, who had strong belief in his own abilities and that is why, I guess, he opted for SDU selection because it is the toughest test physically and mentally that you can undertake in the Force."
For the Matilda Sedan Chair Race organisers, Andy was the lynchpin in the planning and staging of the event for more than a decade. Prior to that, Andy was an enthusiastic participant in the Police Team which for many years took line honours - no doubt in part because of Andy's urging and cajoling.
Andy sometimes joked that the reason he took up an organisation role with the Sedan Chair Race was because competing was tougher than SDU selection!
Matilda's Chief Executive Officer Mary Rafferty described Andy as "such a decent, friendly person".
"He gave up his time generously and calmly assisted putting some order into all the chaos of up to 50 exuberant teams of around 400 people, getting them to line up and start on time - not an easy task," said Mary.
"He always had a smile and an encouraging word for everyone involved. We were lucky to have known him and will not forget him nor will the many charities that his work has helped. I know I speak for all of the Sedan Chair race committee and Matilda International Hospital staff in expressing my feelings of sorrow and great thanks to Andy."
In the sporting arena outside the Force, Andy is remembered as a friend who gave up his time and shared his experience to help others improve themselves - as a running coach at Sai Kung and Tseung Kwan O stadia, as a cyclist and triathlete, and also as a rugby coach of U11 boys and U12 and U10 girls at Stingrays teams.
Sports mates say they were "blessed to know him and all the better for having him as a friend", that he was "one in a billion and a very special guy who gave so much of himself and never expected anything in return", "a tough as nails competitor and wonderful human being"and "someone who inspired me to be better, and not to take it easy and to do the right thing, whether someone was watching or not".
One of the most poignant reflections came from cycling friend Jan Skovgaard who recalls: "My best memory of Andy is from one of our last training rides before the summer holiday.
"Andy summoned up life when he said: 'How lucky are we? We've got wonderful children, beautiful wives, and we're fit as can be. No money in the world can buy what we have..."
"At that point I realised Andy must be the most content and complete person I have ever met. Never had I heard a person speak so genuinely and confidently. I'm going to miss him so much."
Indeed, he shall be missed by many ...
Fundraising efforts in full swing
The Commissioner has approved a Force-wide collection to raise money for Superintendent Naylor's family. Donations can be made to HSBC account: 055-247043-001 in the name of Lynn Rennie Naylor.
The Police Athletics Club is organising a fundraising event, "Andy Naylor Memorial Run", to be held at Foundation Training Centre, Police College, on September 22. Watch out for more details on the Force Noticeboard.
Lynn Naylor and her three daughters lead a "lap of love" around Sai Kung Stadium in honour of her husband Andy, along with over 550 colleagues and friends
|<<Back to Photo Features>> <<Back to Top>>|