Posted: 03.06.20 at 09:49 by The Editor
MANY tributes have been paid to much-loved Ian Evans, who passed away this week after a battle with cancer, aged just 37. Ian was widely known through his work with the Thurrock Centre for Independent Living and his friend and colleague Kelly Woolley has written this tribute:
Ian was recently diagnosed with an aggressive bladder cancer and sadly passed away surrounded by his family on 1st June 2020. He bore the diagnosis with dignity and courage, as was the nature of this remarkable young man, and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Ian worked for Thurrock Coalition, a User-Led organisation, and was an extremely passionate advocate for the disabled residents of Thurrock; he worked closely with many local, regional and national organisations.
He delivered training, consultations and events to promote equality, human rights and the Social Model of Disability – raising awareness of people's rights, responsibilities, duties and entitlements and to remove physical, environmental and attitudinal barriers that disable people, empowering others to have choice and control in their lives and the community.
Indeed, from leaving University Ian began his legal career at the United Nations in the Hague, followed by a period working for Refugee Migrants Justice in Bedford representing refugees with asylum applications and appeals, before joining Thurrock Coalition where he built an unrivalled reputation through hard work and diligence, and was admired and respected by many local professionals and residents alike.
Ian was loved by many and made a memorable impact on everyone he met. He was softly spoken with a dry sense of humour, but nothing was never too much trouble, he was generous with his time and would assist anyone if he possibly could.
He proudly promoted equality and independence and worked hard to ensure the local community had a voice; he was a very proud and dignified man, who hated asking for help as he valued his own independence and having control in his own life too.
Ian showed empathy and compassion to everyone. He loved his music, especially jazz music and often went to concerts and the occasional festival; his passion was to play the drums (not good when owning a VW Scirocco as it's a struggle to get a full drum kit inside) having obtained his first set as a young boy. He was an enthusiastic member of a local band and would look forward to their practice sessions and jamming with friends.
Although Ian will be sorely missed by his family, friends, work colleagues and many Thurrock residents, his legacy to us all will be the confidence and belief he instilled in the local community - that everyone is equal and valued and their voice should be heard and respected when shaping the Thurrock Community for the future.
A family funeral will take place soon, family flowers only with donations in his memory to MacMillan Cancer, but a memorial event is planned once lockdown is eased to celebrate Ian's life and achievements and allow everyone to pay their respects and remember him in their own way with fondness. Details of the event will be shared in the local media in due course.
Rest in peace dear Ian.