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Tributes paid to Azure Collection’s Gary Aplin

Tributes have been paid to Azure Collection agency sales manager Gary Aplin, who died this week after a battle with a rare form of cancer.

Agents and colleagues described Aplin, who died on Monday, as “one of life’s good guys”, remembering him for his ability to “light up a room” as well as his “unassuming manner and glass totally full attitude”.

He was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer in October 2019. In January last year he was told the cancer was terminal and was given six months to live. Colleagues said he was determined to fight for as long as possible.

Aplin, 51, had worked for Chester-based luxury specialist Azure for 10 years, looking after agents in the North and Midlands.

Jayne O’Gorman, managing director, and Mandy Davies, commercial director, paid tribute to their colleague and friend, describing him as someone “who saw the best in everybody and greeted friends and strangers alike with a massive and genuine smile”.

They added: “Gary has left a huge hole in all of our hearts which, over time, we hope to fill by remembering the many positive experiences we have all shared with him over the many years we have known him.

“There will never be another Gary and the world has lost an amazing human being but it sure is a richer place for having had him in it.”

They reflected on his “cheekiness”, his ability to put strangers at ease and his “softly, softly sales approach”, which led many agent partners to become lifelong friends.

Industry peers took to social media to pay their respects.

Beachcomber’s Sarah Archer said: “So very sad to hear that the lovely @Gary_Azure has lost his battle with the big C. He fought so hard with such good grace and humour. Our travel industry has lost one of its gentlemen and will be a poorer place for his passing. Fly high bud.”

Lichfield travel agency RB Collection tweeted: “Very sad to hear about the passing of @Gary_Azure. All the team send our thoughts to his family, friends & colleagues – such a great guy and he will be missed.”


‘There will never be another Gary’

Azure Collection’s managing director Jayne O’Gorman and commercial director Mandy Davies pay tribute on behalf of Gary Aplin’s colleagues and industry friends

“Mere words cannot adequately describe just how special Gary was to everybody who met him. He was one of life’s good guys who saw the best in everybody and greeted friends and strangers alike with a massive and genuine smile.

“Not that people stayed strangers for long; Gary was affable and able to talk knowledgeably on a whole range of subjects (not just travel as many of his agent friends will testify) putting everybody at their ease in his company.

“Gary had an easy and uncomplicated way about him and his unconventional softly, softly sales approach to his agents made him friends for life.

“One look at his Facebook page with over 1,000 friends and the outpouring of grief, disbelief and stories of great times shared with Gary bear testament to just how highly people thought of him.

“His passion for travel was infectious and his tales from the many trips he hosted will remain in the hearts and minds of his beloved agents, who may have started the trip as a partner but definitely finished as a lifelong friend.

“His weekly visits to the Azure office in Chester was one we all looked forward to.

“He lit up the room with his smile, his unassuming manner and glass totally full attitude – there were never any half measures with our Gary. He spent time with everybody in the office, taking an interest firstly in their personal welfare and asking after their family, and then asking how the week was going and if he could help with anything to seal that deal! All delivered in his own style of cheekiness.

“Gary has left a huge hole in all of our hearts which, over time, we hope to fill by remembering the many positive experiences we have all shared with him over the many years we have known him.

“There will never be another Gary and the world has lost an amazing human being but it sure is a richer place for having had him in it.”

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