Heartfelt tributes have been paid to Willow Wood Hospice patron and legendary fundraiser John Fellowes, who has sadly passed away.

John devoted over two decades of his life to fundraising for the Ashton-based hospice. He died peacefully on Tuesday 28 March surrounded by his loved ones in the very hospice he helped to build. 

Friends, former colleagues, local business owners and community groups from across Tameside and Glossop have paid tribute to such a “remarkable man” who “brought fun into fundraising”.

Back in 1997, John became the first employee of Willow Wood and instantly became both the driving force behind the scenes and the public face of the hospice. For the next 20 years, he was dedicated to raising funds, to ensure specialist palliative care for the people of Tameside and Glossop. 

John introduced many fundraising initiatives throughout his career, a number of which have stood the test of time and are still bringing in substantial amounts of money today.

He retired from Willow Wood in 2017, and in his own words said his work at Willow Wood had “been more than a job, it had been a vocation”. 

John joined many dignitaries and guests at the 20th anniversary celebrations for the opening of the hospice in 1999 and then, in the summer of last year, John received a special invite to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his services to the community, in particular his fundraising work at Willow Wood. 

Kevin Taylor BEM, Chair of Ashton Town Team paid tribute saying: “John’s commitment was inspiring in the work he did for the hospice. His passion was infectious and over the years he developed creative ways to fundraise for Willow Wood. My thoughts are with Dot and his family at this time, but rest assured his contribution leaves a lasting legacy.”

Karen Houlston, CEO at Willow Wood Hospice, said: “We have lost a wonderful man, a treasured colleague and dear friend. He was an incredible character, and will be remembered for his charming nature, great sense of humour and relentless fundraising for Willow Wood. John really was ‘the face of the hospice’ and was committed to raising funds to keep our services going.” 

Philip Milson, Hospice Chairman, said: “I am deeply saddened at this news and my thoughts and prayers are with Dot and their family. It is hard to come to terms with the fact that the effervescent and charismatic person we knew for so many years, is no longer with us. Combined with his knowledge, talent and passion for fundraising, John was widely respected and loved within our community. He will be forever associated with Willow Wood.” 

The funeral service, led by Eddie Inglis, took place at The Albion Church in Ashton on Tuesday 18 April.

Images About Tameside/Howard Murphy