The grieving partner of a “one of a kind” Aberdeen LGBT+ activist, who died last week, has opened up about the heartbreak of losing his first love.
Vincent Martignon, 23, shared his most precious memories of partner Liam Jones, describing him as “the kindest and most caring” person, who was always there for everyone.
A “real genuine person” with an “incredible ability to connect with people,” Mr Jones was an “extremely important” and much-loved member of the Aberdeen community.
The former chairman of the LGBT+ charity Four Pillars died unexpectedly aged 29 on Monday, July 19 – leaving “sore hearts all around” the Granite City.
Dozens have since paid tribute to the “happy character” with a “wonderful smile and a heart of gold” who will be “hugely” missed by family, friends and colleagues.
Following the “shocking” news of his death, a memorial fund has been launched to commemorate Mr Jones’ “giving nature”.
Liam Jones’ death left many with an “empty heart”
Speaking to us, Mr Martignon said the loss of Mr Jones has left many with an “empty heart”.
He said: “He was a big part of the Aberdeen LGBT+ community, but he was so much more than that – he was a great son, a loving partner and an amazing friend to so many.
“He was a one of a kind in the sense that even though it was sometimes difficult for people to fully get his sense of humour, everyone loved him and accepted him for who he was.
“Behind his calm attitude, dark humour and all the sassy comments that he loved making, he really was a unique, loving person that was always there for everyone.
“He was such a good listener and had this charming personality that just drew people towards him, even strangers on the street that didn’t know him well at all.”
Mr Martignon first met Mr Jones in August 2019, when he came to Aberdeen for an internship as part of his studies in human resources.
Charmed by his “sparkling” personality and quick wit, Mr Martignon quickly fell in love with the “beautiful character” who always made him laugh – whether it would have been with an unexpected “sassy” comment or by often trying to break an argument with his favourite phrase in French, “baguette, fromage, croissant”.
Mr Martignon added: “My whole life changed when I met him – he was my first love and the person I used to talk to every single day and every minute of the hour.
“Still my thoughts go to him every ten minutes and I catch myself reaching for the phone to send him a message or to call him, and I know he is not there anymore.
“Liam was the kindest and most caring person and everything with him was genuine and meaningful.
“Every joke, every gift from him, every conversation was to make us feel like he is always there for us, and he was that go-to person for many.
“He even started learning French for me and made sure I knew how complicated and tricky he found the language. And still, he was dedicated and committed to learning, because that’s just who he was – always doing everything properly and giving his all for the people he loved.”
Memorial fund for the man with a “heart of gold”
To honour the “bright and passionate” young man, who always gave his all to the community, LGBT+ charity Four Pillars partnered with Cheerz Bar and Nightclub and an anonymous contributor to launch a fundraiser in memory of Mr Jones.
With an initial donation of £1,000 from the three parties, all proceed from the memorial fund will be given to Mr Jones’ family to meet costs or make a donation to a relevant charity in his memory.
Vice-chairman and board member of Four Pillars John Doran said: “It was an absolutely uncontroversial decision and conspicuously the right thing to do – we wanted to come together and do something nice for him and his family.
“He was always so charming, nice and friendly to everyone around him and had the great ability to connect with people and make them feel like he is on their side.
“There will be a lot of people in Aberdeen’s LGBT community who would have taken it as a real shock and are upset over this loss, so we wanted to bring people together undivided in this time of sorrow and make a nice gesture in his memory.”
George Mackenzie from Cheerz Bar and Nightclub added: “He was a hard-working individual, who was an extremely important and loved member of the Aberdeen community – particuarly the LGBT+ community in the city, to which he gave a generous amount of his time.
“We felt this is the right thing to do and wanted to contribute to this fundraiser to assist Liam’s family to meet costs or make a donation to a relevant charity in his memory.
“His tragic death impacted a lot of people and he will be missed by many.”
People can donate to the memorial fund on Liam Jones’ GoFundMe page.