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Andrew Nowell

We are very sad to announce that Andrew Nowell died peacefully in his sleep over the Easter weekend.............

Russell Jenkins writes:

"Andrew Nowell, gentleman, adventurer, manic skier and whack-a-mole tennis player, was such a brilliant life force that it is deeply shocking and saddening to all those who knew, and loved him, that he has died.

His many friends had been relying on him sharing their last-of-summer-wine adventures in the coming years whether on the tennis court, up a snow covered mountain or in a bar where beer is served.

As one of his friends said since they heard the news “he was one of those who worked to live, and not the other way around - he loved life and lived it with a fierce intensity. He was always generous enough to share some of that intensity with those around him”.

Of course, everyone knew Andrew. It doesn’t matter where you go in the village and its environs, you will see his name ubiquitously blazoned across For Sale and Sold signs. As an estate agent, he made a profound contribution to the life of Alderley Edge.

Much more than this he was a huge and loved figure in our lives, not least at the tennis club. He loved to play the kind of tennis where the object was not to hit the balls meekly into the court but to play with unbridled male gusto and an old school sense of fair play. The aim was a “great hard hitting game” followed by a beer.

He cut a distinctive figure on court with his thinning blond locks, boyish enthusiasm and the kind of exaggerated groundstrokes that bounced up past your ear or out over the fence. You counted yourself lucky if you received an email invitation to play, usually signed off with a yellow man emoji with thick black sunglasses and a large thumbs up.

This was the way that Andrew approached life, with an unwavering spirit and a fierce physicality. He prized adventure over intellect and a lets-just-do-it philosophy over the kind of caution that governs most people’s lives.

He sailed small boats like he did everything else, competitively, driving to the finish line. He drove his vintage Austin Healey sports car far too fast and skied down mountains in much the same way.

When one friend told him that classic sports cars were fetching good prices in the sale rooms, Andrew replied in typical fashion that his old motor would not be among them because he had knocked the back end out of it.  His cars were to be driven, pushed to the limit, not left in pristine condition in the garage.

An element of risk was always to be welcomed. Before the pandemic, he had planned a trip to some Eastern European peaks where he and his crew would leap out of helicopters and ski down glaciers in time to meet the chopper for the next round. 

More recently, even as his illness took hold,  he had been planning a ski trip to Zermatt. In the weeks before he died he had been staying at his holiday home in Abersoch, scene of so many of his sailing feats. 

Andrew was well known as a loving family man. Amanda, his wife, has many friends at the club while her husband loved to drag his children, Freddie and Anna, onto the courts for a couple of sets. His pride was obvious to all.

He refused to allow illness to curtail his spirit. He played a Sunday morning roll up in December when Andrew, by now cutting a much frailer figure, played with his usual all-or-nothing philosophy. He collapsed on court, his heart giving way to the strain.

Before the first of two ambulance helicopters put down on the turf beside the courts his friends pumped his heart and followed the instructions of the defibrillator machine. 

In hospital, he was inundated with messages of love and support. Amanda texted: “I’m with Andrew at the moment and have read him all your messages. He has laughed and cried in equal measure. He’s not got great control of his hand so can’t reply to any of you but he keeps saying that he did not know he had so many friends”. 

Andrew has been a large and cherished figure in my life in Alderley Edge. He found me a house when I arrived more than two and a half decades ago, played tennis with me in the annual tournament and the usual floodlit Tuesday night thrash, was always generous in his professional help and, on one memorable occasion, even stepped in to save me from a punch on the nose. He was a friend.

Thinking back, I recall fondly our delight at winning through a few rounds of the annual handicapped tournament, his old dad Denovan, also a great man, rushing on to court for a victory hug. 

Let me share a few thoughts from his friends whose key words when describing Andrew were invariably “a gentleman”, “courteous”, “modest, “genuine” and as Mark Toulmin, a close pal, said “a prodigious talent at sport especially when strapping two skis to his feet whether on snow or water - an adventurer”.

Alan White said: “This is terribly sad news…he was an absolutely top bloke on the tennis court, golf course, or as an estate agent and great company in the bar as well….an irrepressible spirit who will be sorely missed.”

Brian Green recalled: “Andrew always lived life to the full. He was a true friend and gentleman. My fondest memory is of him karting and I could see the grin through his helmet as he thought he’d out-braked me. He did but he didn’t make the corner either and ended up in the farmer’s field. He will be greatly missed”.

And Frederic Bonnet added…”a gentleman with a big heart, he has been so supportive and has done a lot for my family and me. We also played together for the 5th team, the invincible pair (except for a few times). I cannot stop thinking about him, his wife and children. Rest in peace Andrew, you have been a good man”. 

The last thing Andrew said to me, only a few short weeks ago, was that he was missing the “guys” on the court. “I hope to be able to play modestly soon,” he said. It was typically Andrew that even in extreme adversity he still maintained a positive outlook but certainly the opposite of typical that he was ever thinking about playing modestly.  I am happy to believe that, up to the very last, he was still planning more adventures.

Tonight I will be sending a yellow face emoji with black sunglasses and a thumb’s up out into the ether."

I think we all join Russell in the sentiments he has expressed in the piece above.  And our thoughts are with Amanda, Anna and Freddie at this very sad time.

Andrew - we will all miss your boundless enthusiasm for life....

Ruth Samuels

Tennis Chairman

 

Andrew's funeral will be held on Thursday 5th May 2022 at 12 noon at St Wilfred's Church Mobberley and afterwards at Styal Lodge, Styal. Amanda has said that the service will be a celebration of Andrew's life and has asked that there be no black ties.

Amanda has also asked people to car share as there is little parking at the church.


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