AN INSPIRATIONAL community champion who was given an MBE for his tireless charity work has passed away.
Father of two Alan Lewis who lived in Skelmersdale passed away on April 3 aged 62, leaving behind his beloved family, which included his wife Sue, children and granddaughter.
He joined the army in May 1973 and served as a rifleman in the Royal Green Jackets, and a member of the parachute display team. He served in Germany, Cyprus and Hong Kong and jumped some 997 times throughout his career.
After he suffered an accident in 1982, he moved into training and cadets for his last two years of service, which inspired the start of a lifetime of charity work.
He ran his own youth group before setting up Skelmersdale Action for Youth (SAY) in 1998 – which has has helped thousands of people aged 12-25 through a range of activities, events and services.
He was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2010 in recognition of its work within the community. He also served as chairman of the Skelmersdale Veterans’ Association (SVA), chair of the Police Independent Advisory Group and was awarded an MBE for services to the community and young people in 2015.
He raised awareness for projects including the dangers of drink-driving, anti-social behaviour and bullying, domestic violence and the impact of violence on young people in relationships.
Tributes poured in after his death, with West Lancs MP Rosie Cooper describing him as ‘supporting everyone young and old’ in the community as well as him exemplifying ‘hard work and dedication.’
She said: “I first want to express my heartfelt condolences to Alan’s family and friends my thoughts and prayers are with them.
“Alan was an active community volunteer for many years supporting everyone young and old. I worked closely with him through his involvement with Action For Youth and as chair of Skelmersdale Veterans’ Association. We met at numerous events over the years including the Anti Social Behaviour Conference, Armed Forces Day and he attended a roundtable event I hosted with then Home Secretary Alan Johnson.
“Only last year I was invited along to the launch event of ‘Football 4 Forces’, an initiative Alan, a veteran himself, worked hard on alongside partners including Wigan Athletic to provide social and walking football opportunities to ex servicemen and women. This was just another example of Alan working hard to support the people of Skelmersdale and West Lancashire.
“Indeed his work has been recognised over the years, having been awarded the Unsung Hero Award by the Community Foundation for Lancashire and he received an MBE in 2015 for Services to the Community and Young People.
“He will be sorely missed, particularly by his family and friends but across the town and borough for all his hard work and dedication.
“My thoughts and prayers remain with his family and friends at this time.”
The Skelmersdale Veterans Associated added: “It is with great sadness that we at Skelmersdale Veterans Association announce the passing of our chairman Alan Lewis MBE. Our thoughts and condolences at this time are with his wife Sue and family.
“Your watch is done mate and you've gone to meet your maker on your final RV where we will all catch up for a drink one day. God Bless and RIP Alan.”
His family are appealing for people to stay home and stay safe in these very difficult times.