Sean Ellis was one of those people who, despite appearing quiet and unassuming, was very active and widely known. His final illness was very brief, an aggressive brain tumour. He died peacefully early on Saturday morning and without any distress, his family all having seen him the evening before.
He was proud of his ‘Desmond’, having left university with a 2:2 (Tutu). He was a very bright student but had too many interests to focus solely on grades.
He worked as a GPU architect, a highly specialised and leading role in computer hardware and software design. But while he enjoyed his work, it was a fraction of his life; his family, Tamasin, James and Thomas, came first. He was also politically active, being a campaigner for the NHS Action Party and sponsor of its leader who stood in his constituency. He made himself a constant thorn in the side of his local MP, Jeremy Hunt. He was also a regular at the Anti-Brexit marches, with his elaborate electronic placards provoking frequent photo stops.
But the part of his life he was perhaps most widely known for was his involvement with skepticism in the UK. He became involved with the Hampshire Skeptics in Winchester, becoming its treasurer very early on and staying in that role until he was no longer able. He was a frequent contributor to the multiple Ockham-Award winning Pod Delusion. His pieces being witty and clever: favourites included the ones about Quantum Santa and the 3D Quark printer in Argos.
His wit and knowledge made him a quiz team delight. The year his team won the QED Quiz cup the rest of the team agreed that their skill was in choosing him as their teammate.
Most of all though, during the last weeks of his life the comment most heard was ‘Please tell him how much we love him.’ And there’s a lesson in there for all of us. We need to tell our friends that we love them while we still have them with us. It is good that Sean could at least hear this in so many words while he was still able to understand what it meant.