Son's tribute to 'wonderful' father

A SON has paid tribute to his “wonderful” father's zest for life after he was killed in a car crash in Essex.Henry O'Brien, 76, of Inchbonnie Road, South Woodham Ferrers, was seriously injured in the collision at the Army and Navy roundabout in Chelmsford on April 26 and died in hospital on May 3.

By Sharon Asplin

A SON has paid tribute to his “wonderful” father's zest for life after he was killed in a car crash in Essex.

Henry O'Brien, 76, of Inchbonnie Road, South Woodham Ferrers, was seriously injured in the collision at the Army and Navy roundabout in Chelmsford on April 26 and died in hospital on May 3.

Five people were taken to hospital after the accident near the entrance to the flyover at about 11.30pm.

Yesterday his son Murrough O'Brien said: “Henry was more than just a wonderful dad; he was also my best mate.

“Following the death of his wife and mum in 1985, our bond had grown stronger and stronger. He helped me solve many things in life with his cool, calm and warm approach and never had an unkind word to say about anyone.

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“He maintained his independence and had a wonderful outlook on life, always positive.”

About five years ago, Mr O'Brien's kidneys failed and he had to follow a regimented life with dialysis treatments. Yet the pair still managed to both fulfil some of his ambitions with trips to Paris and Rome.

“Even with such a serious illness, he was not deterred,” his son said. “His zest and determination to see the sites were quite moving for me.

“He was probably at his happiest during our holidays to Exmoor that started when I was five and have continued ever since.

“He enjoyed nothing better than the simple things such as walking by the river, up on the moors or along a rocky beach.

“Even last year, aged 75, Henry managed to walk to the top of Exmoor's highest peak again. The happiness on his face was of sheer joy and fulfilment.”

Mr O'Brien was a keen reader, especially about history, and enjoyed talking about historical events.

His other passion was opera, with Sunday morning coffee always accompanied by a classic piece playing in the background.

His son had nothing but praise for the staff at the renal unit in Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, for proving his father with the “gift of life” for five years.

“He once said that he 'loved going to dialysis other than the reason for going',” he added. “I would also like to thank all the staff at Broomfield who worked so hard for him during his final hours.”

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