A retired lecturer of nursing for 10 years in Lancaster has died at the age of 64.
Keith Elisha Burrell was born in Bartons, St Catherine, Jamaica on July 8 1950 to parents Mary Jane Burrell (nee Allen) and Josiah Theophilus Burrell.
Keith was the first of eight children – four born in Jamaica and, subsequently, the remaining four born in the UK.
In the winter of 1964, at the age of 14, Keith emigrated from Jamaica to the UK with his youngest Jamaican sibling (the other two having moved to the UK earlier in that year).
Keith joined his parents and four UK-born siblings in Nottingham.
As Keith was 14 when he arrived in the UK, he received less than one year of formal state education before leaving school in 1965 in order to enter the world of work, becoming an apprentice for the engineering company, Monks Ltd, in Nottingham.
Keith married his first wife, Cathy (nee Ross) in 1972 and they produced two daughters, Angela and Lynda.
Keith then joined Saxondale Hospital in Nottingham to train as a psychiatric nurse.
He left psychiatric nursing and continued his nursing career in the general nursing field, by joining the City Hospital in Nottingham.
He completed a social work degree in Birmingham and then held down a number of social work posts in Nottingham.
Keith then achieved the post of the minority development officer in Nottinghamshire.
From his arrival in the UK, Keith played a significant role in the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Nottingham, Manchester, Preston and the wider UK as a lay member of British Union Conference of Seventh Day Adventist.
Arguably, his dominant characteristic and his enduring social legacy with most people he came into contact with will be his ‘joie de vivre’.
Keith moved from Nottingham to Manchester in 1986 and took up the post as the Principal Race Officer for Manchester.
He married for a second time to Monette (nee Morris) in 1986.
Following his race relations work, Keith re-immersed himself in social work in the 1990s, within the voluntary sector and a developmental role to Manchester Carers Centre for the city of Manchester.
During his time in Manchester he obtained a Masters Degree level of Education.
Keith’s third and final marriage was to Alice in 2000.
Keith and Alice then moved from Manchester to Lancaster to set up home and to pursue his career.
Keith took up the post of lecturer in nursing at the University of Cumbria in 2000. It was during this period that Keith was awarded a PhD in nursing and management. He occupied this lecturer position until he retired in 2010.
Keith’s final role, post-retirement, was to work as a social worker on an interim basis in Cumbria and Wales.
In November 2014 Keith was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Amazingly, under the care of his wife, two retired Seventh Day Adventist volunteer nurses and the Macmillan Nurses, Keith managed to hang onto life for a further two months, before making the decision to seek holistic care in Malawi.
Keith passed away in Malawi on March 30. He is survived by his two daughters and by a granddaughter, Georgia May.