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Farewell and thanks to Dick and Thorsten

Tue, 23 Apr 2024

Life Member Dick Ekström


Life Member Thorsten Palmquist


In the wake of spring, a poignant reminder of life’s fragility has graced our hearts, urging us to cherish every moment and inspire greatness during our time on this earth.

March has cast a somber shadow upon us as we bid farewell to two remarkable souls, our esteemed Life Members, Dick Ekström and Thorsten Palmquist. Their departure leaves a void that will be deeply felt, and our heartfelt condolences and prayers extend to the families and friends of these two founding pillars of our community within the International Island Games Association.

Dick Ekström's legacy is woven into the very fabric and vision of the first Inter-Island Games, beginning with his role as Team Manager for Åland during the inaugural event in the Isle of Man in 1985. His dedication saw him elected to the Executive Committee at the conclusion of those Games, a role he would grace until 1995.

Ekström’s leadership as Chair of the Organising Committee for the 1991 Games in his beloved Åland left an indelible mark, emphasizing the camaraderie and spirit of the Games. His introduction of the Water Ceremony in 1991 became a cherished tradition, symbolizing unity and friendship across nations as well as highlighting the water that unites us as islanders. Ekström’s commitment to the Island Games earned him  Honorary Life Membership for his unparallelled contributions.

In 2009, Dick Ekström once again led Åland as Chair of the Organising Committee for the NatWest Island Games, leaving an enduring legacy with the construction of the Games Fountain in Mariehamn, a testament to the spirit of the Games and a lasting memorial to the event. His unwavering belief in the power of sport, friendship and international understanding made him a beacon of inspiration, emphasizing the importance of competition and the need for role models to guide the youth – a legacy that will forever endure.

Thorsten Palmquist, as Team Manager for Gotland, played an instrumental role in the inception of the Inter-Island Games, continuing his service through the 1987 and 1989 Games. His tenure on the Executive Committee from 1993 to 1997 and his subsequent appointment as General Secretary for the 1999 NatWest Island Games in Gotland showcased his unwavering dedication to the continuation and success of the Games. Palmquist’s foresight and passion for the Games ignited a fervour within the Gotlands Sports Federation, encouraging widespread participation and ensuring the Games' ongoing success.

Dick Ekström and Thorsten Palmquist epitomized the transformative power of sport, leaving an indelible mark on island communities worldwide. Their tireless efforts and unwavering determination have not only shaped the landscape of sport but also enriched the lives of countless individuals. As we bid farewell to these esteemed Life Members, we hold dear the memories of their friendship and leadership, knowing that their legacy will continue to inspire generations to come. Our sincerest condolences to their families and friends during this time of profound loss.

On a personal note, both Dick and Thorsten were not only esteemed colleagues but also cherished friends and mentors to me and all who had the privilege of knowing them. Their guidance and wisdom will be sorely missed and forever cherished.

May their spirits find eternal peace and may their legacy continue to shine brightly in the annals of the International Island Games Association.


Jörgen Pettersson



Photo, Dick Ekström: Therese Andersson.

Photo, Thorsten Palmquist: Private.