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Ric O’Reilly R.I.P. Obituary & Funeral Details.

Dear All,

Following a short illness, we regret to advise the passing of Ric O’Reilly, who many will remember from probably the mid 70’s, when he raced Formula Fords and later a Haggispeed Clubman’s at National Level.

Proud of his Irish roots, Ric became friends with the Irish racing mafia and counted Eddie Jordan, David Kennedy, Derek Daly, Martin Birrane, Michael Roe and The Manley Brothers as friends, who all raced at Aintree.

He mechaniced  in Formula Ford and Formula Three from the late sixties to mid 70’s including a brief spell with Frank Williams and Frank Sytner!

His family were very well known in the Licensed Trade in Liverpool as they owned J.P. O’Briens in Pall Mall….a beer bottling plant and wholesaler to pubs and clubs! and Ric worked in the family business on the sales side.

One of Ric’s trick questions was “How many pubs are there on Scotland Road  (of Cilla Black fame)?”…which was famed for having a pub on every street corner…and a strong Irish Community…Ric, of course, knew all these pubs, in a professional sense, and the answer was..none!. He knew that all the pubs addresses’ were actually the side streets they occupied to get round licensing restrictions!!

He took up professional photography in the late 80’s after a period of poor health associated with the stresses of running the family business and undertook photo reporting for the Liverpool Daily Post and local papers such as the Crosby Herald but his first love was always motor racing , especially the commercial side.

He produced a post-graduate thesis on motor racing sponsorship in the early 80’s…another of his quips was the comment from a very high profile sponsor (may have been P. Morris)…” We know that 50% of our advertising works but don’t know which 50% it is?!”.

The last motor sport event that Ric probably attended in a semi-professional capacity was The Condroz Rally in Belgium in 1990…he was our combined mechanic, tyre, fuel and food support team! Always had a knack of finding good food and beer!

For a few years, Ric was a Director of ACC before moving from his home on the seafront at Waterloo, Crosby to Lytham St Annes in 1997, to study for a Degree in Art and Photography at Blackpool and Fylde College, where he continued to live till he passed away.

He has published some fantastic photos, especially those from the early 60’s and 70’s of mostly Aintree and contemporary events he attended since the late 80’s.

He also had a passion for the coastal areas around Galway, where he had strong family connections and specialised in taking photos of Galway Hookers!..indeed…these being the nautical vessels unique to the area!

My most memorable photo he took (for ACC) is the one he shot at Aintree in 1992 of a future world champion…Richard Burns…receiving his award cheque!..he won his class that day in the Ford RS2000 Challenge.

I knew Ric had an extensive photographic library covering over 50 years of motor racing in the North West…lets hope it can be preserved in some way as a lasting memory.

Deepest sympathy to his family and close friends in the UK and Ireland.

Ric’s funeral will take place at Lytham St Anne’s Cemetery and Crematorium on Wednesday 13th March at 3pm. FY8 4AB.

May Ric Rest in Peace.

Updated 07/03/19  Michael Ashcroft.