Family of popular Lancaster RE teacher who passed away suddenly raises money for two local charities

The family of a much-loved Lancaster teacher who passed away earlier this month are raising money for two charities close to their heart.

Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 3:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 3:39 pm
Damian Bates, who passed away on August 15.

Damian Bates, head of RE at Our Lady's Catholic College, passed away on August 15 following a short illness.

The dad-of-four had suffered a bleed on the brain and was treated in both the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital.

His wife Alison has set up a special Facebook page for people to pay tribute and share photos and stories.

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She said Mr Bates "touched so many lives, inspired so many young people and was loved by so very many people."

Numerous past and current pupils, as well as friends and colleagues, have left messages expressing their sadness.

And the family has now set up a fundraising page to raise money for two Lancaster charities.

On the family's tribute page, they said: "As charity and faith in action were so important to Damian, we're inviting people to donate in his memory.

"Damian's family have chosen two great local charities that were close to his heart; The Olive Branch and Neuro DropIn.

"Neuro Dropin have kindly offered to help with the mangament of all charitable donations and every donation received to them will be split 50:50 with Olive Branch.

"So please support them and be assured the funds will go to both charities, which are very meaningful to the family."

So far almost £3,000 has been raised - you can donate online here

At the request of Mr Bates' family, his Requiem Mass at the Roman Catholic Parish of Saint John Henry Newman in Morecambe will be live streamed via YouTube on Thursday August 27 from 11.30am.

You can watch it here

Mr Bates' wife Alison set up an online tribute page after his death.

She said: "It is with a truly broken heart and the deepest sadness I have ever felt that I have to let people know that my beautiful husband Damian was unable to survive the massive bleed he suffered on his brain on Friday 7th August. I was with Damian when he passed away at 12.20am last night [August 15].

"The teams of doctors and nurses in both Lancaster and Preston (neuro and ICU) did absolutely everything they could to help Damian.

"They were so compassionate and supportive with me and I’m so grateful that they let me see him despite current regulations. He was on the organ donor register so we arranged for that to take place, so hopefully he will be helping people even now.

"I know he touched so many lives, inspired so many young people and was loved by so very many people that people will want to send messages.

"He never had a Facebook account, but we have set one up for people to post messages/photos/videos. We hope it may help everyone to read the messages about him, and that it may bring us some comfort as we try to continue our lives without him.

"Isaac, Eleanor, Lucy and Leo are going to have to come to terms with the loss of their amazing, funny, kind dad at an age when they shouldn’t have to.

"We have already received incredible support from family and friends, and this will help us in these difficult times. Our faith will also help us. I may not understand God’s plan for Damian, but I trust that God is with us in these dark times, and that Damian will be in heaven.

"I know I will never feel fully complete again, but he will always be in our hearts and I am a much better person for having loved him and had him love me so deeply for the last 23 years."

Our Lady's Catholic College also paid tribute on their Facebook page, saying: "It is with the greatest of sorrow and a sense of disbelief that we must post that Mr Bates, our wonderful head of RE, much respected colleague and very much beloved friend, died after a short illness.

"We are so very saddened that we have lost such a wonderful man and our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs Bates and their family.

"We understand that our students past and present will be feeling the same sense of grief and shock that we are and we are sure many will want to share their memories, which we are unable to do face to face currently, making this all the more difficult for our community – who are always united and gain strength from each other at terrible times such as this."

If you wish to pay tribute to Mr Bates, you can do so here