‘He was a warrior’ – one of the many tributes to an incredible Nuneaton dad who lost his courageous fight against cancer.
For four years Lee Welland mounted the bravest battle against cancer so that he could live to see his beloved daughter Eva grow.
Sadly he lost that fight on Sunday (September 6) leaving many across the town heartbroken.
But he leaves a huge legacy in the community which rallied around him in his time of need.
“He was so much to so many people, he touched so many lives,” said John Bosworth, family friend and chair of Ambleside Sports Club.
“He was everything you would ever want in a lad, so kind, so conscious of the people around him.
“He was a great son to Margot and Rob, brother to Mark, husband to Sarah and a brilliant dad to Eva and a friend to so many people. It is hard to explain exactly the kind of person he was, he was an inspiration.”
‘Sadder place without him’
His close network of friends are devastated so Mr Bosworth spoke on their behalf.
“I have known him since he was nine, you genuinely could not have met a more lovely lad,” he said.
“He used to play football for St Nic and for Ambleside club, he was part of a gang of lads, they are the backbone of the club, they are great, great friends.
“One of the nicest things about this bunch of lads is that they all came to the club, they all stayed at the club, they are all part of the club, the world is a sadder place without him.”
‘Forever in our hearts’
Lee was a lecturer at the former North Warwickshire and Hinckley College.
It is another place where he has left a huge impression.
“Lee inspired so many of us, from the students he taught to the staff he worked with,” said a spokesperson for the now North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College.
“Whether you knew him as Mr Powerbags, your personal fitness trainer or simply Lee, he was a friend first and foremost.
“Lee loved working for the college and took great pride in making a difference, be that in the classroom or in making a positive contribution to the local community; attempting on two occasions to break a fitness class world record whilst raising money for charities and fighting battles of his own; he always cared for others.
“For those of us that were lucky to have known him closely, you would know he was one of those people that would make you smile and brighten up your day no matter what was going on.
“We don’t just mourn the loss of a colleague but that of a true gentleman. He is forever in our hearts.”
Lee was the founder of Powerbags, which has helped hundreds improve their fitness and will continue in his memory.
Through this, and his friendship with Matt Hall, he helped to launch what were incredibly successful World Record Attempts to raise funds for Georgie’s Gift.
He was dedicated to raising as much money as possible for the charity, set-up in memory of little Georgie Hall, who tragically died from meningitis.
“He’d do anything for anyone, if he could do it, he would, if he couldn’t, he would find a way of doing it,” Mr Bosworth said.
“He was that sort of person.”
Immunotherapy had been dramatically helping the Sapcote resident fight off cancer which was discovered in 2016 and spread initially from his kidney to his skull, hips and shoulder.
But the expensive treatment was not available to him on the NHS, so he was forced to look towards private therapy treatment.
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He had been undergoing advanced integrative cancer therapies in Austria to help starve the cancer cells – but this came at a huge cost.
His family, friends and former colleagues rallied to help pay for the treatment.
Georgie’s Gift returned the favour for his dedication to the charity – by surprising him with an incredible £30,000 donation to help towards the costs.
There was also a saucy calendar created to help raise money for Lee, who is also known for being the frontman of a Razorlight tribute act, Razorlite.
£10,000 was raised at Lee Fest’, a day of music held at Ambleside Sports Club and the ‘Ruff and Lamb bus tour’, with a further £1,300 raised at the Godiva Battleground boxing event. An emergency services day and police versus firefighter football match raised a further £2,000.
“He was not alone in the fight, everyone did so much to help pay for him to be able to go to Austria, we know he would have done that for anyone himself,” Mr Bosworth said.
“It gave him hope amongst everything else, we know what everyone thought, but he was so hopeful, he wanted to fight it so much.
“He was a warrior, it is the best way to describe him. It would have been so easy for him to give up but he didn’t.
“No-one really knew what he went through going through the treatment, it was absolutely brutal but every time he came back, he came back with a smile on his face.
“You can’t put into words how brave he was.”
Hundreds have left tributes to Lee on a post on the Ambleside page on Facebook.
“It’s a testament to the sort of person he was, he did so much for so many people, he was just a brilliant lad,” he said.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of comments on there.
“One of the saddest things is, with everything that is going on, not everyone is going to be able to pay their respects to him, I know so many people would want to.
“We, as a club, will 100 per cent do something for him, some sort of memorial, as soon as we possibly can.”
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