Members of a North Wales charity have paid tribute to a well known and much loved Wrexham character, community volunteer and disability rights campaigner, who passed away unexpectedly on December 2.

Linton Gower will be known by many. Those who didn't know his name, will know his face.

He was a founding member of the Friendship Wrexham hub and Wrexham SWS Group, longstanding member of the SOUL (Shout Out United and Loud) Self-Advocacy Group and of All Wales People First, where he held the position of vice chair of the National Council for People with Learning Disabilities. He was also a "friend to anyone".

A member of the North Wales Advice & Advocacy Association (NWAAA) made the following tribute on behalf of all who knew Linton.

She said: "He was foremost a dedicated and passionate advocate for people with learning disabilities.

"He represented his community at a local and national level working closely with people to help them tell their stories and have their voices heard.

"He challenged inequality by speaking directly with government officials and public bodies, by always being ready to take up the cause and by never shying away from a chance to speak out, even when he knew the job would be tough.

"He was an ever present helper at community events, and must have known half the people of Wrexham.

"Linton always had time to help a friend and showed kindness to everyone. This Remembrance Day Linton attended the cenotaph, not able to forgo showing his respect for those who paid the ultimate price to protect others. That is the kind of man he was."

Asking what Linton would be remembered for most, the spokeswoman said: "It is difficult to do justice to a man like Linton, but what speaks volumes is that his passing has provoked hundreds of social media comments, phone calls and correspondence from people all across Wales who knew him as a friend, a colleague, a community member or simply a person who always stopped for a chat.

"People say how inspiring he was, how much he taught them, what a good and caring man he was, how funny and gentle he was. What a hard worker and passionate activist he was.

"What an impact he made on the self-advocacy movement in Wales, what a dedicated Arsenal fan he was. How their hearts are broken and how grateful they are for having known him, and how a fitting tribute for this amazing person is not a minute of silence but a minute of cheering and giving thanks for all that he was and all that he did."

Linton's legacy is in the work he did, paving a brighter way for others, and the spokeswoman added: "Linton smashed the learning disability stereotype and leaves a better understanding of how kind, clever, valuable and important a person with a learning disability is.

"Linton leaves a legacy of improved services for people with learning disabilities both locally and nationally. Most significantly, he leaves many, many broken hearts, he was liked, loved, respected and now grieved for."

On the Friendship Hub Wrexham Facebook page, the group made a poignant statement: "A difficult day for us at the Hub, remembering our good friend and founder Linton. Not a minute silence for you but a minute of being heard. Cheers and whoops of thanksgiving. We're so grateful for you and what you did for Wrexham and the disabled community."

Plas Madoc Leisure Centre posted on their Facebook page: "A sad day for everyone at Plas Madoc as we lost one of our friends and colleagues.

"Linton Gower was a long time volunteer, and a big part of the team here at the centre.

"His happy, friendly and warm nature was loved by staff and customers alike. He will be sadly missed."

• An online Zoom Memorial, celebrating Linton's life, will be held at 2pm on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.

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