Monday, February 18, 2013

Passing Thoughts

Ewen Cameron
"Death," I was once told, ""is the worst possible form of ill health" and the random nature of our lives, was no more immediate than fifteen minutes earlier, on my lunchtime cycle ride to Minnis Bay and back.

I arrived back in West Bay, just as an ambulance appeared. on a 999 call to a middle-aged man who had collapsed at the road entrance to the promenade. He was very grey and the ambulance crew immediately started a full cardiac recovery protocol. My educated guess, is that he had been in arrest for at least ten minutes without intervention. A second ambulance arrived just as I left and I can only hope for him and his family that the two paramedics battling to save him, were successful.

I wanted to say a few words about the sudden death of former Conservative Councillor, Ewen Cameron last week and perhaps this is a good time.

Ewen, became a councillor for the Bradstowe ward at the same time as I entered district politics. As he lived in Westgate at the old St Peter's church guest house, I knew him and his wife Valerie quite well.

An economist by profession, Ewen was kind, frequently a little eccentric and in my opinion, among the brightest of all our Thanet councillors. When the recession struck in 2008, Ewen lost his job and this had a disastrous effect on him. Like many before him and I'm sure many more after, he found refuge in a glass of wine, which over time became several and then a bottle and more.

This is not the place to explore the history of Ewen's problems and his subsequent conviction and imprisonment for drink driving. As with all of us in public life, the courts expect us to set an example and quite rightly, deal with us harshly when we don't.

Prison was not the place for a gentle character like Ewen Cameron. He was assaulted, victimised, extorted and bullied and left Her Majesty's pleasure in a far more fragile state of health and mind than he entered.

I was shocked last week to hear of his sudden death and I'm still not in full possession of the details. I did notice searches rippling across this weblog and this alerted me to something unusual.

Regardless of our politics and differences locally, I would hope that we can remember Ewen for what he was before alcohol-dependence poisoned his life and wrecked his career. A kind and gentle man, a councillor who was always prepared to help others less fortunate than himself and who never had an unkind word to say of anyone.

His funeral is on the 28th February with a service at 2:40 at the Barham crematorium.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a sensitive and intelligent tribute.

Karen Kennedy said...

I didn't know Ewen very well. I met him once, at a committee meeting. That didn't stop me wanting to help when he found himself in prison. I did not judge him, but many people did. It could happen to any of us, we are all vunerable. Ewen had his faults, made mistakes, but was, as you say, a gentle person, well mannered and a victim of circumstance. Those Councillors who turned their backs should hang their heads in shame. I know of three Councillors who did all they could to help Ewen, and yes, I will name them - Roger Latchford, Sandy Ezekiel and Simon Moores. I just hope that if misfortune befalls the other 'greats' at TDC that someone will be there to catch them as they fall. This is incredibly sad and I am so glad I took the trouble to write to him in prison, my conscience is clear.

John Kirby said...

Ewen was a genuine nice person and i do hope the next Council meeting on 28th February will recognise him for the work he did and the friends he made before his untimely
passing - for many of us it is a case of "There for the grace of God" let us not be judgmental and mourn his tragic passing - John kirby

Roger Latchford OBE said...

Ewen was a gentleman and a dear friend, both Sandy and I did all we could to help him through his troubles and whilst in prison I too wrote to him. I also visited his dear wife Valerie to see that she was alright and if she needed any help.
Simon, your tribute is excellent, and I hope to be able to pass my respects at Barham on the 28th Feb.
Rest in Peace Ewen.

Simon Moores said...

Thank you. I very much wish to attend. I have a filming contract for the day before and the 28th is a weather fall back day. I'm hoping it won't be necessary to use it as it would clash with his funeral.

Simon Moores said...

I should add here that my own part in trying to help Ewen was very modest indeed and real credit should go to Karen, Roger and Sandy and other true friends, who tried very hard to help him in his darkest hours.

Anonymous said...

Well said Simon.

Anonymous said...

I briefly worked with Ewen a couple of years ago. I've been thinking of him recently and am sad to hear of his recent passing. Through my own experiences, I could instantly tell that he had problems. These were denied by more senior members of staff and effectively ignored, unfortunately I lost contact with Ewen after he was "let go" by the company. I just want to say what a fantastic man I thought he was and the tales he told (albeit repeatedly!!) still bring a smile to my face. R.I.P Ewen.