Charming man who did so much
THE children of Danny Unwin, who has died at the age of 71, say they will remember with pride their “charming, loyal and very funny” father.
A former mayor of Wells, Danny originally came to the city as head of home at Fletcher House. He went on to become a long serving city and district councillor, and ran Unwins Funeral Directors with his wife Christine and daughter Becky.
“Dad loved Wells, and was always looking for things to do,” said children Becky Lane, Tim Unwin and Karen Hoogesteger.
“He did lots for Wells as he was in the Lions for around 25 years. Our childhoods were spent helping out at Lions events. One year we manned a Bovril stand at the fireworks display in Wookey which was very glamorous.
“He then also did Music on the Green which again we were all part of. He thought how lovely it would be to have an event with the Cathedral as a backdrop and that’s all it took, he went off and did it.”
Inspired by the Lions of Bath, in 2012 he organised the Swans of Wells, 60 decorated swan sculptures to mark the Queen’s 60th jubilee that went on public display before being auctioned.
“He spent hours talking to businesses to get sponsorship and get it off the ground. Thanks to Dad’s relentless work on the project and the support of businesses within Wells, the project raised over £110,000 for local charities. For us the swans are his legacy and we’ll be reminded of him whenever we spot them around the city,” said Becky, Tim and Karen.
“He worked really hard in everything he did, the most obvious being his job, and he always ensured things were done properly and respectfully.”
They say that he “couldn’t have been prouder” than when he was Mayor of Wells between 2011 and 2012, and that as far as he was concerned, council work transcended politics – “it was about helping people and doing his best for the city”.
Danny was an animal lover, and always had dogs. More recently he had three alpacas that he showed at events, including taking them to St Thomas’ Church for a Christmas service in the absence of any camels.
“The other thing we will always remember Dad for is his constant tea drinking. He would never get started on anything without having at least two or three cups which could be frustrating if you just wanted to get on and do. But that was Dad,” said Becky, Tim and Karen.
“Dad was charming, loyal and very funny. He built meaningful relationships with those around him and we have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from everyone, and would like to say a big thank you for that.
“He was very well respected and we’re very proud of him. He is a huge loss to us as well as the community. Dad loved Wells and those in it.”
The current Mayor of Wells, Councillor Celia Wride, remembers first meeting Danny at the election count at the Bath & West Showground in May 2015. She said: “He gave me a hug and warmly welcomed me to Wells City Council. Over the years his advice to me was always sound and he was never afraid to make his point during council debates, often quipping that what was said in the council chamber, stayed in the council chamber.
“I will miss him dreadfully – Sarah and I will always remember him as a true friend. Our sincere condolences go to Christine and the entire family.”
Councillor Harvey Siggs, Leader of Mendip District Council, said: “Danny was always a character, one who always wanted to be involved in doing things. Warm-hearted and willing. He saw his contribution as beyond party politics and especially over the last couple of years has loved being a part of making things happen.”