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Community stalwart Tim Mason leaves 'unique legacy' in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 February 2016 | UPDATED: 07:07 08 February 2016

Tim Mason.

Tim Mason.

Tributes have been paid to Mr Mason following his death. He worked "passionately" to help homeless people and those with learning difficulties, and helped convince the Government to reinstate a life-extending cancer drug. He was 58.

Friends said Tim Mason had also left a “unique legacy” in the town thanks to his tireless community work.

He died at home on January 29 from advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST), aged 58.

Mr Mason, who was married to wife Kate, had urged people to sign a petition to reinstate a life-extending cancer drug called regorafenib.

He was a trustee of GIST Support UK, which got 100,000 signatures on a petition to the Government in March of last year.

Following the petition and subsequent debate, the drug was reinstated by the Cancer Drugs Fund. Mr Mason, who worked as a housing development officer for local authorities in Suffolk, was also a volunteer at Age Concern Suffolk, a trustee and director of homeless charity Emmaus in Ipswich and founding director of L’Arche Ipswich.

L’Arche, a worldwide organisation, aims to build faith-based communities, with and without learning disabilities.

Tony Gibbings, community leader of L’Arche Ipswich, said Mr Mason left a “unique legacy” in the town.

Mr Gibbings said: “Tim cared passionately about homelessness and for people who might be marginalised in society.

“This instinct led him to spend a year (1993/4) with L’Arche (The Ark), a community in France with its founder, Jean Vanier, creating homes with people with learning disabilities. On his return from France he joined the group of local people seeking to establish L’Arche in Suffolk.

“This led to him making a vital contribution to the feasibility study, and the project opened in May 2006, with Tim appointed as community leader, a role for which he was singularly qualified.

“However, it was more than a role. Tim had a particular gift for friendship, which meant that he had a wide circle of people who mattered to him and to whom he mattered greatly.

“He was clearly loved and social events would often find people in close conversation with him about things which were important to them and that found in him a ready ear.

“He leaves a unique legacy in the town… of projects, of work with others at St Margaret’s Church and beyond, and a wide base of friendships, drawn together around him and his strong awareness of the vulnerable and the marginalised.

“He loved Ipswich and Suffolk, studied its history, promoted and defended its causes.

“The town has lost a great friend.”

The funeral will take place on Friday at 12noon at St Margaret’s Church, Soane Street, Ipswich IP4 2BT.

No flowers have been requested, but donations in memory of Tim can be made to GIST Support UK www.gistsupportuk.com

Mr Mason’s niece Freya Shelbourne is running in the Vitality Half Marathon on March 20 in aid of GIST Support UK and donations can be made to www.virginmoneygiving.com/freyashelbourne

Also, Mr Mason’s sister Cathy Shelbourne is taking part in the Walking the Planet initiative in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice, who looked after Tim so well earlier this year.

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