Tributes to brave Kevin

TOUCHING tributes have been paid to a brave man who never got to enjoy a party he had organised to raise money for charities which had helped him through serious illness.

TOUCHING tributes have been paid to a brave man who never got to enjoy a party he had organised to raise money for charities which had helped him through serious illness.

Kevin Rix, of Green Road, Bungay, had organised the fancy dress bash at the Chaucer Club because he wanted to repay the kindness given to him by All Hallows day care in Ditchingham, Macmillan Nurses and the Sandra Chapman Unit at the James Paget University Hospital, when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

But as his 150 family and friends gathered in his honour, the 37-year-old slipped away peacefully in hospital surrounded by his auntie Gloria Dickerson and sister Tracey Ellis.

Attending the party was one of Mr Rix's three aims before he died and, poignantly, as news came through of his death, his guests had just joined hands to sing his favourite song in dedication to him.

This week, Tracey, Gloria and his other auntie and uncle, David and Pam Rix, spoke of the kind and generous man who made an impact on many peoples' lives with his infectious personality.

"He was going to have a party when he finished his treatment and it was all done before he knew the result that he was terminal, although it was supposed to be an end of treatment party," said Pam.

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"He still wanted to have it though to raise money for the centres and people that supported him. The more money raised, the better he said; he had this dream that he would win the lottery before he died and he would give it all to a palliative care unit," she added.

Mr Rix was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphona two years ago which forced him to give up his beloved job at Gunton Hall in Lowestoft as beverage and retail manager, where he had worked for 20 years.

He started as a day patient at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston and although he was given stem cell therapy, it was unsuccessful. He was only told the news that he was terminal a few weeks ago, but he still wanted to go ahead with the party.

"The cancer was very aggressive and it was pressing against his carotid artery and the windpipe," said Pam.

"He had three aims - the first was to see Mother's Day, the second was to go to lunch with the family, which he did, and the third one was the party on Saturday, which he never got to go to," said Gloria.

On Saturday afternoon, Gloria rang the hospital at lunchtime and was told he was looking forward to the evening, the taxi had been booked and the wheelchair was ready, but by 2.30pm he had deteriorated.

"I was already on my way when I got a phone call to go and Tracey and I stayed with him," said Gloria. "We knew he would want the party to go on and we couldn't tell everyone that it was cancelled because a lot of people had come a long way, it's what he would have wanted.

"We went to the party to represent the family and we sang simply the best by Tina Turner, which was his favourite song, and all stood in a circle; that was around the time he died," added Pam.

David said: "He adored his work and he loved Gunton Hall. He loved playing Father Christmas for the guests and often used to take part in the pantomimes there where he played the Hairy Fairy; he was a natural actor."

All four family members desribed

Mr Rix a generous and kind person, who always thought of others before himself.

Around £1,564 was raised at the party, with more money to come

from a family member completing a mountain climb, and various events at Gunton Hall.

The funeral took place yesterday at Emmanuel Church, Bungay, with a family gathering at the Chaucer Club.