Tributes have been paid to a ‘ray of light’ community champion from Ramsgate who was passionate about helping anyone in need.
Much-loved husband, dad, grandad and great-grandad Brian Urwin passed away on June 1st, aged 87.
He was an active member of many resident associations and community groups and a founder of numerous support groups for everything from diabetes and asthma to friendship groups.
He was dedicated to empowering people to look after their health and in recent years founded Think Healthy Me, which has 24 associates, each experienced in natural/complementary medicine, nutrition and mindfulness, yoga, transcendental meditation, massage, coaching and more.
Brian Thomas Urwin, was born on April 15th, 1936 in Eastham, Merseyside to Dorothy and George Urwin. He had a younger brother, Raymond.
He married Brenda on 29 June, 1957, and this month the couple would have celebrated 66 years of marriage.
Brian leaves three children, Karen, Nicki and Ross, six grandchildren, Dani, Naomi, Minnie, Nathalie, Thomas and Joseph and two great-grandchildren, Harry and Matteo.
On behalf of the family daughter Karen said: “He was a truly amazing, generous, kind, thoughtful, beautiful, positive, motivational and inspirational person, a true gentleman and gentle man. We are all so very proud of him and he will be so deeply missed.
“His family meant the world to him and he leaves a great hole in our lives. He was our rock, our confidante, our protector, our anchor, our mentor, our advisor, our friend, and loved us all unconditionally and immensely, as we did him. He meant the world to us all. He was a dedicated family man, with heart of gold.
“He was always so smartly dressed and often described as “dapper”. A few years ago, I saw a man stop in his tracks to look at Dad admiringly as he walked past in his beautiful suit and tie, with his highly polished shoes, the man commented “what a beautifully elegant man”, and I was honoured to say “that’s my Dad”.”
Brian has served in the Army and the police force and then worked as a civil servant for many years before taking early retirement and then starting a management consultancy.
Karen said: “He was dedicated and passionate about helping others. He was generous and kind both with his time, and on all levels.
“He never stopped learning right until the last, and was a life coach, mentoring young people, and starting various community and self-help groups. He always helped the homeless, injured birds and animals, and would help anyone in need.”
Brian had health challenges over the years including diabetes, which he managed through natural medicines as well as NHS services. and he underwent a quadruple heart bypass in 2000 but used his experiences to help others learn about their health. Brian kept fit by running, walking, swimming and cycling for as long as he was able to.
Karen said: “Wherever he lived, he started community/residents associations, and was a founder member of the Westcliff Conservation & Community Association in Ramsgate.
“They went on to save and regenerate the neglected Rose Garden in Ramsgate on the Royal Esplanade. This was endangered by the council and is now a stunningly beautiful testament to him and all the community volunteers who worked so hard to transform it, and continue to do so.”
Brian was also instrumental in getting a defibrillator installed at Westwood Cross and recently received the Kings Coronation Award for his services to the community, one of only 500 nationwide. His nomination spoke of how Brian coached and mentored disadvantaged adults and young people, empowering them in personal leadership, values, health and wellbeing. It also highlighted the self-help and support groups he had created.
Son Ross said: “He was a connector and found joy in watching his associates create positive change in both theirs and others lives.
“Our father believed any challenge in life was an opportunity to grow. He encouraged others to do as he did and write ‘learning logs ‘about their experiences good and bad. He believed that life was a beautiful gift and spent his dedicated to helping others.
“He was a keen activist for climate change, the natural environment and animal welfare.
“Our father was a ray of light to so many and we are confident that through his passion and dedication to others his legacy will continue to change lives for many years to come.”
Many tributes have also been paid by associates, family and friends
One said: “His departing this life, leaves a huge hole, he was a big character, my view is a shining light has gone out. During his long life he has tenaciously and selflessly helped to improve the lives of countless people. He has been a true inspiration. “
Another who had been mentored by Brian added: “He will always be a true hero to me, a truly amazing and selfless man. He helped me out of a black hole on more than one occasion and taught me the core principles of life that has made me the person I am today. “He will be greatly missed and his passing will leave a deep void in the lives of people whom he helped, mentored, tutored and befriended. A true man amongst men.”
Brian’s funeral will be held on June 26th at Thanet Crematorium. The service will begin at 11.40am. Black clothing is optional.
There will be a private gathering after the funeral and a celebration of his life at a later date. The family welcomes donations to the British Heart Foundation as an expression of sympathy, via W.S. Cole & Son Funeral Directors, Minster. There will also be a collection box for BHF at the funeral.