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.