Obituary for Tom Karkinsky

It is with great sadness that we would like to share the terrible news that our cherished friend, Tom Karkinsky, passed away on 30th Dec 2010. Tom was a cheerful and active member of our Society, before he fell ill with leukaemia a year-and-a-half-ago.


Following BA and MPhil studies at Pembroke College, Cambridge, completed in exemplary fashion, Tom was into his 2nd year of the DPhil programme in Finance at the Said Business School, here at Oxford.

Tom was very active in the Society and the student community of Green-Templeton College. He was acting secretary of the Society in 2008-2009, co-organised a number of charity events that OUBulgSoc was involved in, and crucially was a dear friend to all of us, who had the pleasure and privilege to know him personally!

One memorable activity with other members of OUBulgSoc, which Tom took to heart, happened mere days before he was - so unfortunately - diagnosed with leukaemia. He was at the core of a team of rowers and friends attempting to row from Oxford to London, raising funds for a deserving charity – ZOV UK (a charity supporting underprivileged children in Bulgaria). In between training with the team, liaising with the charity organization and actively encouraging donations, Tom was already feeling the strains of his illness. He eventually took upon himself and his brother Damien, the all important job of organizing the trip logistically e.g. driving the support van, bringing provisions, ensuring the safety of the crew, and operating locks along the Thames.

In the last months of his life, Tom persevered through the painful illness to set up - a charity aimed at increasing the registered donors of stem-cells among Bulgarians. His efforts were so diligent and effective that, although still in the process of being set up, the charity got a lot of publicity – an article in a Bulgarian daily newspaper, as well as a TV newsfeed. This is a very deserving initiative that a number of us will continue to push forward with eagerness. It can benefit from the efforts of all our members – simply by spreading the word around their friends in Bulgaria.

Although a great tragedy, the passing of Tom’s young life is also a moment of reflection. His life was an inspiration to his friends – a life lived with firm conviction, drive to success and achievement, but also fully open to the beauty and pleasures of the world. We shall all keep fond memories of our dear friend

We all express our most sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. May he rest in peace!

tom karkinsky