vale bill raymond
The Intrepid flag is at half mast, with the very sad news that Intrepid Vietnam leader, Bill Raymond, passed away in Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok on Tuesday 23rd November. Bill was travelling with his sister in Cambodia the previous week when he suffered a brain haemorrhage and entered a coma, from which he could not be revived.
Our prayers go with Bill and to his sister Helen, her partner Michael and her daughter. A Buddhist memorial service has been held in Bangkok, also there have been memorial gatherings in honour of Bill in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and an evening is planned in Melbourne.
David Mannix, General Manager of Intrepid Vietnam writes: “Bill led trips throughout Vietnam and South-East Asia for the last 15 years, making him Intrepid’s longest serving leader anywhere in the world. He was one of the best leaders we have ever had and is a true Intrepid legend in every sense of the word. Living in Vietnam for such a long time, away from his homeland of New Zealand, the people of Intrepid became Bill’s family. It was especially his fellow leaders, whom he considered brothers and sisters, that Bill inspired as a friend and mentor.”
“Perhaps Bill’s most defining characteristic was his love of Vietnam – anyone who met Bill could feel his passion and respect for the country and its people. He made such an impression on Vietnam and touched the lives of so many people, that in a way he became part of the landscape. It is fitting that Bill’s ashes have been brought back to Vietnam, where he will remain part of the landscape for eternity and the legend will live on.”
Over the years Bill trained many Intrepid group leaders, including several of the early western leaders. Some of these leaders have shared their thoughts:
“I learned more about Vietnam and the Vietnamese way of life from Bill than any guide book could tell me. A man with a passion for the country and its people, Bill could turn any incident into a moment of discovery. He made tour leading more enjoyable, life in a foreign country more exciting and helped all fellow leaders with the culture shock and trials and tribulations that we ourselves endured.” Grant McClelland
“The Intrepid Vietnam family has now lost an iconic and unique character, a man of self-deprecating and sardonic good humour, wickedly cynical at times, but always generous of spirit and willing to help anyone. For many of us, he was our mentor and our mate. Bill was always generous in sharing his time, friendship and assistance with me, his travellers and anyone he met on his travels. ” Bruce McPhie
We know that thousands of Intrepid travellers had wonderful experiences travelling with Bill and we are pleased to share some of their recent comments…
“Bill had a remarkable knowledge of Vietnam, its culture, history and people. He had a good sense of humour, nothing was too much trouble. Brilliant all round.”
“The whole experience was fantastic, but in my opinion it was the knowledge, care and constant attention that Bill took to look after the whole group and their many needs that made the experience that much more enjoyable and memorable.”
“Bill is a diamond, he let the group find its own dynamic but was always there with helpful advice, all the information we could ever need and a friendly face to help us out. We always felt we were in safe hands.”
“He obviously loves what he is doing, and his enthusiasm and genuine interest in the places he was taking us made all the difference to our enjoyment of the trip.”
“Bill was informative, fun, warm and friendly. If you love food and trying the local beers, Bill’s your man. He is exceptionally well educated on all things Vietnam, and is highly respected by the locals.”
Vale Mr Bill – you will be very much missed!
In memory of Mr Bill – Melbourne, 7 December, 2010
A memorial dinner will be held on Tuesday 7th December at a central location in Melbourne. We welcome anyone who would like to join us on the night and please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend.