The sad death of Owen McDowell on 29th February has left behind many good friends and colleagues in Pitsmoor. Over 300 people attended his humanist funeral on 14th March. The following tributes have been received by the Messenger:
Fiona Addison and Phil Rees
Owen was much loved and respected by his many friends across this city and further afield. His loyalty, integrity and commitment to the causes he believed in will be remembered by us all, but it was his sense of humour, his wit and his outrageously loud laughter that made Owen stand out from the crowd.
Owen lived in Pitsmoor for almost 20 years before moving to Walkley to be nearer the countryside he so loved. In the 80s he was involved as a volunteer advice worker for Pitsmoor Citizen’s Advice Bureau, putting his legal knowledge and skills to good use on behalf of people who needed advice and support.
He then worked for the Sheffield Advice Centres Group, passing on his knowledge of Welfare Rights as a skilled and enthusiastic trainer. Most recently he took on the role of Assistant Manager, at Sheffield City Council’s Asylum Team. His commitment to equalities, to the struggle against prejudice and discrimination, were abundantly clear.
Owen celebrated diversity. He really enjoyed meeting new people from different cultures both here in Sheffield and abroad on his many travels.
Owen used his significant skills as an organiser and as a promoter of events to champion Refugee Awareness Week in Sheffield. In June 2007 he organised a hugely successful ‘One World Over’ concert at the Crucible theatre, an excellent multi-cultural event bringing in an audience of between six and seven hundred people, and I know that was something he was very proud of.
Abdul Razak Saleh, of the Yemeni Community Association
In all his job-roles, Owen was passionate and committed. While working for the PCT he set up the Carers’ Forum and was very committed to helping carers from BME communities. In his later role with the asylum team, Owen again showed a down-to-earth understanding of the needs of asylum seekers and refugees and the support they needed. Owen was a great man and he will be missed very much by people in our community.
In fond memory of Owen McDowell who encouraged many people (myself included) to get up and perform; after all if he could do it surely we couldn’t be any worse.