Brian Jones obituary

Other lives: Nurse and teacher of nursing students in the field of learning disability

Our friend Brian Jones, who has died aged 59 of pancreatic cancer, will be remembered for his commitment to learning disability nursing and for his unassuming personality.

We met Brian when he worked in Bryn y Neuadd hospital, Llanfairfechan, north Wales, in the 1980s, a time when large-scale segregation of people with learning disabilities was ending. At the time he was living in an innovative group home, as one of a team of five supporting three adults with special needs around the clock. He was appreciated as a humble person, who considered himself to be equal to the people he supported.

Brian would urge others to "treat people tidy", and he stuck to this philosophy in all of his professional roles, as a community nurse in Anglesey (1988-92), as a case management team leader (1992-96) and finally, perhaps the apex of his career, as a teacher of learning disability nursing students in Bangor University, where he worked until his retirement. His students still recall his inspirational teaching, moral constancy and eccentric and humorous ways.

Born in Rhyl, north Wales, Brian was brought up near Swansea with his brother, Geoff. He went to school for a time in Wokingham, Berkshire, before moving back to Swansea to read geography. On graduating, he undertook learning disability nurse training at Bryn y Neuadd. He met his wife, Ellie, when she went to work in day services at the hospital in 1988.

In the late 80s, Brian helped to train athletes with learning disabilities for north Wales teams in the early days of the Special Olympics, when such events were run on a shoestring. He went on to organise weekend walking and cycling groups. His passion was fell running; he was part of the winning team in the Three Peaks yacht race; and he took third place in an event staged in the Tasmanian wilderness. He would not mention these successes unless he was asked. In his short retirement, from 2010, he liked nothing better than to potter around Snowdonia.

He is survived by Ellie and their son, Giles, and by Geoff.

Stephen Hughes and Dave McDonald

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
How a nurse is fighting for the rights of people with learning disabilities
Jim Blair, a nurse consultant, is battling to remedy failures in the NHS to provide equal care for learning disabled people

Mary O'Hara

14, Feb, 2012 @4:45 PM

Article image
Mary Mitchell obituary
Other lives: Nurse who became a hospital planner

Richard Savage

16, Sep, 2016 @4:29 PM

Article image
Jack Hayward obituary
Other lives: Nursing professor who became director of the pioneering National Nursing Research Unit

Patrick Callaghan

23, Aug, 2016 @3:06 PM

Article image
Flaws in populist proposals for nurse training
Letters: Nurses are a key and sizeable proportion of the healthcare workforce but their visibility makes them easy scapegoats

27, Mar, 2013 @9:00 PM

Article image
As a deaf nurse, I know what it's like to face discrimination in the NHS
Healthcare professionals with disabilities haven’t got very far in terms of career progression, says former nurse Helen Cherry

As told to Sarah Johnson

08, Aug, 2019 @9:01 AM

Article image
UK Covid: Williamson hopes children will get 'time in schools' this summer - as it happened
Education secretary also promises ‘no algorithms’ for exam results; MPs told 99% of arrivals in UK don’t quarantine in hotels

Andrew Sparrow

24, Feb, 2021 @6:23 PM

Article image
Letter: Esther Hindley obituary
Mary Neave writes: I was so lucky to have been held steady by Esther Hindley’s reassuring strength

Mary Neave

08, Nov, 2019 @3:35 PM

Article image
Mary Cronk obituary
Midwife, educator and expert in breech and twin births with an instinctive empathy with those at the bottom of the pile

Mavis Kirkham

13, Feb, 2019 @5:28 PM

Article image
Noreen Edwards obituary

Other lives: Nurse and matron who chaired the Gwynedd health authority and was a lieutenant colonel in the Territorial Army

Huw Thomas

11, Mar, 2012 @8:26 PM

Article image
Graham Pink obituary
Nurse whistleblower who became a cause celebre when he was sacked for exposing understaffing on elderly care wards

Janet Snell

05, May, 2021 @3:22 PM