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About Raj

Inspiring local young people through sport and music.

Raj is our very special, beloved and talented son. He was just 18 and had all of life’s possibilities in front of him, but on 30th July 2012 he suffered a severe head injury when he came off his road bike whilst out on a routine ride in Bristol. There were no witnesses to the accident and we will never know why such an experienced cyclist who knew his own bike inside out, and had cycled the road hundreds of times before, suddenly crashed, but Raj died as a result of his injury on the 2nd August, and a beautiful shining light, a force for good, went out of the world.
Raj was an extremely talented road cyclist and had been racing since the age of 11. Having just finished his A levels he was preparing to give all he could to make it into the world of professional cycling, and many people in the sport believed he had the talent to do it. Raj competed initially at Castle Combe Race Circuit starting in the Under 12’s category; he won his very first race and achieved a podium place every week throughout the season for the next few years. Raj also raced further afield and won the Youth Tour of Wales in 2008. Raj was a ‘climber’ in cycling terms, superfit and built like Contador - no one in the Bristol cycling fraternity had beaten him up Cheddar Gorge in recent times (hence the Hill Climb Challenges - see events), and ultimately he had his sights on the Tour de France - we think he would have made it happen.
For Raj, mountains were there to be cycled up and most of our holidays were based around riding up the iconic Cols and Mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees, and cycling the Pro’s training routes in Majorca. Amongst many others he rode up Mt Ventoux - two days in succession  - when he was 12: Alpe d’Huez a number of times in a pretty impressive time; Col de La Croix Fer in snow - more than once; the Tourmalet in 34 degrees as part of the Etap du Tour even though he was only 15 and you had to be 18 to take part; the L’Angliru (which many Pro’s have almost refused to cycle up in Pro races because it’s so brutal); a 100 mile stage of the Tour of Britain two years running, raising money for prostate cancer- we could go on!
Raj was a talented sportsman all round. Apart from his cycling achievements, he was taken into the Bristol City Football Academy at quite a young age and was a very skilful and intelligent footballer - he chose to leave the Academy eventually so he could concentrate on cycling; he was an LTA Performance Tennis Player at one time; he ran for both QEH and Bristol Cathedral School in the Schools Cross Country Championships at the drop of a hat and always came in the top three;  he was given two scholarships to play Real Tennis for Bristol Real Tennis Club; and he still holds the bleep test record at Bristol Cathedral School (and probably a pretty high one at Bath University Sports Village).
Raj also loved his music and was able to play the electric guitar; he could also listen to some music he loved and the next minute had taught himself how to play it on his keyboard.
It’s alright for us to slightly(!) show off his talents because we are his parents, but Raj was very quiet about himself and many people probably don’t know half the things about him. He was certainly a chilled guy who took ‘calm and cool’ to another level!
His friends just loved him because he was such a good friend; because he was fun and he made them feel happy when they were around him; because he cared and was there for them; because he always saw the best in people and never judged them, and of course because he knew how to have a good night out!

Raj was a very happy soul - he smiled a lot and laughed a lot right from a baby onwards: he had some kind of special energy and people were always drawn to him. We have many pictures taken in India where Raj is sitting with other people!! There’s one where he is having a meal in a beach shack in Goa with a group of teenagers on their gap year; another where is playing chess with an Indian lady after he just walked up and sat at her table in an ashram, and many more.

We also have so many cards and letters from people which say the same thing - “Raj’s smile would light up the room”.

We are so lucky as a family to have done so many wonderful things together. Since Raj was 5 years old and Krishna was 8, we have travelled to India every other year to see our family over there, and we have had the most amazing experiences. We have bumbled round India  over the years in old Ambassadors, jeeps, trains and rickshaws, taking in temples of every kind, wildlife sanctuaries (he is probably one of very few people who has seen a Tiger in the wild), spice routes, tea plantations, Keralan backwaters, ‘hippie hangouts’, games of street cricket, an earthquake, landslides in the Himalayas, the Taj Mahal, Christmas in Goa on the beach, Indian weddings, the foothills of the Himalayas, palaces in Rajasthan, family priests on the Ganges and many other lovely memorable times too numerous to mention. We had lots of fun.

When Raj died, we experienced an enormous and genuine outpouring of love for him from literally hundreds of friends, his wonderful family of course, and everyone who knew him however briefly - he had a positive effect on everyone who knew him and he meant so much to many.

He ‘Loved Strong’ - we loved strong - and we want to hold on to that.

Raj Kumar Soni    

21st July 1994 - 2nd August 2012

Love Forever

With huge love and thanks to all our family and all our friends - the wonderful people who have helped us and are still helping us cope with the most difficult thing we will ever have to live through ~ words cannot describe the pain and sadness.

Raj K Soni Legacy Fund 8

We had memorial T-shirts printed to give to people at Raj’s celebration - on the front were his initials and dates, the title

“A Precious Human Life” and a Buddhist inspired symbol.

On the back was written the following:

To support the Raj K Soni Legacy Fund

Donate Here

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