Three well-known people passed away within a few hours of each other on Tuesday. They were teacher and journalist, Lino Bugeja, TV Presenter Rennie Vella, and Cecil Pace – the founder of BICAL bank which eventually had to close down after it ended up in the middle of a controversy with its creditors.
When one mentions Lino Bugeja, one thinks of Birgu, sports and environmental activism. In no particular order. Because he used to love all three equally.
He died during the night between Monday and Tuesday – just a month away from his 87th birthday.
A teacher by profession,, the enthusiasm he had for passing on everything he knew to others never left him. He used to organize walks in the countryside for the Ramblers and used to explain to the participants all about Malta’s rich natural and historical environment.
He was also an author of books and newspaper articles which led him to winning awards from Malta’s Institute of Journalists.
As a young man he was an athlete and won various competitions, and for some time also held the national record for the 400 metre spring. His love of sports led him to contribute to the sports pages in Maltese newspapers and he even published a book about the Olympics.
He was also greatly interested in history especially that of his hometown Birgu. In fact, he appears in the documentary L-Assedju, produced by Television Malta two years ago.
In 2013, Lino Bugeja was given the highest recognition in the country when he was awarded the medal for serving the Republic (Qadi tar-Repubblika).
In separate statements, the IGM and the Ramblers Association both paid tribute to his memory.
Two other people who passed away on Tuesday were Cecil Pace and Rennie Vella.
Cecil Pace died at the age of 89. He was known as the founder of BICAL bank, which he set up with his brother in the early 1960s, and which had to close down ten years later because of cash flow problems. Cecil Pace paid the price by serving a 14 year prison sentence after he was found guilty of misappropriation, fraud and falsification of documents.
TV Presenter Rennie Vella, died at at the age of 56, after a long illness. H presented programmes on almost every local station, apart from also being involved in lots of charity work.