TRIBUTES have been paid to local Methodist Minister, Rev Andy Laird, who has died following a three-year battle with Motor Neurone Disease.
Andy, who was Minister at Dale Street Methodist Church in Leamington before going on to have pastoral oversight of the Methodist churches at Kenilworth, Cubbington, Radford Road, Wellesbourne, Fenny Compton and Knightcote, died peacefully at home on June 9., aged 66.
The Hampton Magna resident will be particularly remembered for his mammoth, and highly inventive, fundraising drive to raise vital cash for research into Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Andy sprung to the press and public’s attention a year into his retirement from the church, in 2019, when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and instead of wallowing in the diagnosis, decided to embark on a programme of unusual fundraising drives to promote the MND Assocation.
He invented the “Reverse Triathlon” for April Fool’s Day in 2020. He walked 500 steps around his back garden to represent the running part, then cycled 1 km on the exercise bike, then for the swimming element he took a shower. This raised over £9,000 for MNDA.
Various family members and friends took up challenges to raise funds for research into MND, and by the following April Fool’s Day, in 2021, Andy had come up with the idea of an Egg and Spoon Race around the village in electric wheelchairs, against his friend Trevor Langley. With all the support from colleagues, friends, family and contacts, Andy’s Fight-Back Fund has reached over £45,000.
He was also a familiar voice on the radio talking about the disease.
But at this point, the disease had taken its toll, robbing Andy of movement and causing difficulties with breathing. His last few months have been spent in bed, watching his favourite box sets on TV, which he did as his final sponsored challenge on April Fool’s Day this year.
In his own words, at the end of his life story, which he has compiled with the help of a dictation machine, over the last two years, Andy wrote: “The disease continues its relentless progress. I continue to remain strong and my determination to fight the disease is still there. I know it will get me in the end, but I feel that every penny raised is a small win. I think the current balance on my fightback fund is a big one. The MND Association will be able to do so much with it to research a cure and support other sufferers like me.”
Andy has touched many lives over his years in local church life. His contribution to the local Methodist Churches has been recognised and valued by many, along with his musical skills and enthusiasm for Churches Together In Warwick, Leamington and Kenilworth and several musical productions.
He took the lead as Joseph in a touring churches production of the Andrew Lloyd Weber Musical and was a leading light in the productions of “Sing to the King” and “Crown Him” by Churches Together.
To donate to Andy’s MND Fightback Fund visit https://andy-laird-fightback.muchloved.com/Fundraising/Events/653446882