MOURNERS lined the streets of Redditch last week for the funeral of town mental health champion Mike Lewington.
Mike, a retired social worker in mental health who worked for 19 years at the town’s Orchard House before retiring, was a trustee of Redditch’s Mental Health Action Group.
He passed away on April 1, aged 75 following a short illness.
With only six mourners allowed at the town’s crematorium due to coronavirus restrictions, most people watched the service via the internet from home.
“Mike was an utterly selfless man,” said Rosie Palmer, chair of MHAG.
“I first met him a few years ago on December 28. I remember the date because Mike had just come out of the Ecumenical Centre where he had been helping to cook meals for the homeless.
“And that epitomised what he was all about – supporting everybody who was vulnerable, who was needy and also fighting for justice for those who did not have a voice.
“His great strength was his ability to see things from the point of view of the service user.
“He was a true gentleman and I am going to miss him terribly.”
She added that Mike’s dream was to have an Accident and Emergency department for mental health here in Redditch.
“He wanted to see mental health normalised and we’ve actually been piloting such an A&E scheme in the town and I’m so glad he lived to see that.”
Mike also helped set up the charity Boys2Men helping young lads connect with their dads.
A member of the Labour Party, and he stood in the local elections on a number of occasions albeit it safe Conservative seats.
Councillor Bill Hartnett, Leader of the Redditch Labour Party said: “Mike’s passing is incredibly sad news.
“He was a very kind, thoughtful and gentle man. He worked tirelessly for no end of causes and he will be sorely missed.”
Sue Yeng of Redditch Community Forum added: “He played such a big yet unseen part in this town, and we won’t see his like again.”
His friend Dr Helen Purser, who worked with him at Orchard Place for 19 years said: “I’ll never forget his laugh – he had such a dirty, cheeky sense of humour and he absolutely adored his dog Joey.”
Mike, who was separated, is survived by his two children and five grandchildren.
His daughter Sarah said: “He was just so genuine and lovely and we were all so proud of him.”