In 2014, Jason Florio and I were living in the small West African country of The Gambia, when we were woken by an early morning phone call, on 30th December, from a Gambian friend who advised us to ‘stay off the streets’ as the sound of gunfire had been reported, coming from the vicinity of the State House, in Banjul – the then President Yahya Jammeh’s seat of autocratic power – and talk of an attempted coup.
Not ones to miss out on the action, we got into our truck, cameras in hand, and drove around the unusually deserted streets. It was unnerving, to say the least, to see one of the main streets, Kairaba ‘Pipeline‘ Avenue – which is always teeming with people, traffic-laden, and noisy – virtually empty.
Two months to the day, after sharing a couple of Julebrews, we said au revoir, at Banjul airport, “see you in a couple of months“, to Simon Fenton (he was there to meet his family, coming from the UK, off the flight we were about to depart The Gambia on), we received a call, on Friday 26th May, one of those calls…, tragically Simon had died as the result of a car crash, just a few short hours before, in Senegal.
Simon was a fellow Brit and West Africaphile, writer, adventurer, guide, lodge owner, husband, to Khady, and father to two beautiful young boys – Gulliver and Alfie.
He truly was one of those wonderful human beings, who really lived his dreams, with his huge infectious smile and boundless excitement about life. Anyone who was fortunate to know Simon will pay testament to this.
If you are able to contribute to the JustGiving page (any amount will be gratefully appreciated): ‘All donations go directly to his brother and sister-in-law’s account and will be used to cover some of the hospital costs incurred during his all-too-brief treatment, transport costs and his funeral costs in Abene, Senegal. Anything left over will beto support his wife, Khady, and their two young boys.’ Mike Webster/JustGiving
Sending much love, condolences, and support to Khady, Gulliver, Alfie, and all of Simon’s family.