"The start of another Tour de France incites a huge wave of excitement and speculation within the world of cycling. This is not surprising considering that the Tour is the world's most popular annual sporting event and brings attention to the sport in a most spectacular way. But to those who knew the great man, the Tour also revives memories of Paul Sherwen, who sadly passed away towards the end of 2018, leaving his fans and colleagues absolutely shattered. Paul was a co-commentator with Phil Liggett on TV stations that broadcast the Tour around the world, including NBC. Together, Paul and Phil were the double-act that anchored NBC's coverage in the USA and brought the sights and sounds of the Tour to millions of keen viewers. Some even said Paul and Phil were the reason they watched the Tour on NBC - their silky-smooth commentary, and infectious humour, as well as an enviable knowledge of cycling made for unbeatable entertainment. To say that Paul is still missed today is a gross understatement - the man was irreplaceable.
Paul and I had become great friends many decades before, when Paul was beginning his Tour de France career as a cyclist in 1977, when I too was beginning my career as a cycling photographer. We shared many adventures along the way, and I was lucky enough to have known Paul through the many phases of his adult life - as a cyclist, Motorola team press officer, family man, TV commentator, and general entertainer. But if I could highlight one single phase of Paul's life it would be his love affair with Africa, something I was able to witness when Paul and his wife Katherine took a few of us on safari in Kenya in 1996. If I thought Paul had been a very determined pro' cyclist during his career, his passion for African life completely surpassed any such observations. Paul was in his element as he showed us the sights of the Masai Mara and the iconic Rift Valley. We ate with the locals and slept outside under the ‘stars and enjoyed some thrilling encounters with Kenya’s famous wildlife. Paul excelled in speaking Swahili with the local tribesman – he was the complete guide, and a whole lot more.
His African life forms the incentive for the Paul Sherwen Project, an undertaking by family, friends and colleagues to memorialize Paul in the best possible way. When Paul wasn't traveling the world as a TV commentator he was immersed in a great variety of projects in Uganda. Some were linked to cycling – like his passion to supply used mountain bikes to hundreds of youngsters. But Paul also threw himself into bettering the lives of others as well, and he traveled far and wide in his quest to bring an extra degree of happiness into so many peoples' lives. His work had barely started at the time of his passing, so the Paul Sherwen Project aims to re-start that commitment in Paul's memory by committing to fundraise for the workshop building of the Matany Girls' Vocational School, founded by his dear friend, Florence Naduk. The school is located in her village of Matany, in Paul's favourite region of Uganda, in the remote north-east area called Karamoja.
Now, in mid-June 2022, it has been almost one year since the Paul Sherwen Foundation was launched. I'm pleased to say this web-site has managed to donate valuable funds to the continuance of Paul's passion and energy in Uganda, by way of print sales to the very cycling fans that Paul appreciated so much. If you would like to continue supporting the Paul Sherwen Foundation and its projects, go to their web-site and see what their latest news is: https://www.paulsherwenproject.com