Two days before Christmas of 2012 I was told that a work colleague of mine had lost his fight with cancer. Mark O’Leary was a Sports Producer at Sky, working closely with the gallery team and presenters at Sky News. He would waltz into the gallery wearing outlandishly bright hawaiian shirts, cracking jokes and having a laugh with everyone with seconds to spare before going back on-air from a commercial break. He was a genuinely good guy with a presence that could change the atmosphere of a room. He is a sad loss for all of us.
I only recently learned that Marko was a bit of a Trekkie. He loved sci-fi and had been watching the remastered High Definition episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation as it was being broadcast by the Syfy channel in the UK. I’d been doing the same thing over Christmas, having also discovered the re-run would be from the very first episode. It fills me with joy and sadness to think that Marko was watching and laughing at the same funny bits I was. A moment shared without realisation.
Unfortunately due to the amount of people Marko knew and left an impression with, there was only limited space at his funeral and I couldn’t be there. But I think I’ve managed to do something in his memory that he would have been thrilled with…
A team in the U.S. have been running a project to rebuild and restore an original Star Trek The Next Generation ‘Enterprise D bridge’ that was about to be thrown out by Paramount. The ‘bridge’ is one of the most iconic and fundamental areas for any Star Trek series. The entire Enterprise D bridge will become an interactive museum used for teaching as well as carrying the history of Star Trek.
The restoration team put out a message on their Facebook page asking for any names they could integrate into the restoration, so I left them a message and emailed them asking if they would include Marko’s name somewhere. And they replied saying “not a problem”.
And so Marko’s name will be inscribed onto an iconic Isolinear Chip, installed on the bridge computer, with his memory becoming an actual Star Trek memory chip on-board the restored Enterprise D bridge.
The set will eventually travel around the world to conventions and shows, before settling as a museum piece for all to experience.
I hope that works for you, Marko.
UPDATE: A separate memorial service organised by Marko’s employer, British Sky Broadcasting, is to take place on the 29th January 2012.