Tributes have been paid to Simon Morgan; Change Grow Live recovery worker, DDN volunteer, and a much-loved member of the Stratford-upon-Avon music scene, who was an inspiration to family, friends and colleagues.
Simon Morgan, 57, from Norton Lindsey, Warwickshire, died after a road accident on Friday 3 April. He was out cycling when the accident involving a tractor happened, near Balsall Common. He was taken to hospital but died later that evening.
Simon was much loved by his friends and colleagues. His closest friend and his colleague Chris Jennings gave us an insight into the ‘real’ Simon.
They became friends in teenage years and stayed close ever since. Chris was a member of The Fragiles at the time Simon was in Domestic Bliss and the pair properly joined forces in The Suspects, a band that featured in the Easter 1982 edition of The Herald’s Focus magazine.
Simon and Chris formed The Hop in 1983 and early work features Chris on vocals. Chris would then move to London, but the pair kept in frequent touch. Chris recalls: ‘He would visit, call me and send letters with home-made mix tapes on cassette. Over the years we’ve been through everything together, holidays, good times, bad times and played at some of the most dubious venues in London.
‘He was a prolific songwriter, still putting down ideas shortly before the accident. He was one of the most intelligent and articulate people I’ve ever met. He was a prolific journalist with exceptional literary skills, widely recognised as an expert in his field with the ability to produce thousands of words effortlessly. He was also interested in and highly knowledgeable about art, politics, ancient history, megalithic remains and their surroundings – indeed, there wasn’t much he didn’t know about, and his energy and output was unreal.
‘He was a musical expert and was still listening to everything from avant-garde jazz, pan pipes and punk to reggae, French hip hop and more recently, the sounds of Bristol’s Ossia and Young Echo.’
Alongside the shared love of music, they had been working together in recent years for Change Grow Live, with people recovering from drug and alcohol issues. Simon’s previous roles had included being part of his father’s firm working on exhibition electrics but he then went late to university and graduated as a social worker, quickly moving into recovery work.
‘He was a key player in treatment services and he was a pioneer,’ says Chris. ‘He was a champion of the underdog and was never afraid to challenge authority.’ But at the same time other enduring qualities shone through to all who knew him. ‘He was also one of the most loyal, sensitive and caring human beings I have ever known,’ he said.
‘As Simon’s manager, I only knew him for six months, but I was enormously impressed by his contagious passion,’ added Change Grow Live team leader, Paul Woods. ‘What a wonderful guy, who had a profound impact on me in the short time I knew him.’
For years we have been indebted to our team of volunteers for helping us stage the DDN Conference. Whenever we think about this role we will always remember with gratitude and affection the star that was Simon Morgan, who cheerily, competently and without fuss coordinated a superb effort on our behalf, meeting and greeting delegates, then helping them find their way around throughout the day. Simon’s cheery band of colleagues was a credit to his ‘can-do’ style and charisma. The picture was taken in March, on a visit to The Glee Club, when Simon brought some of his group to look around the venue and go through logistics for the conference. We larked about not knowing that the event would be postponed – Simon was going to compere the entertainment programme and sing with his guitar.
Simon felt like one of our team members and we will miss him very much. We know how hard it will be for those who called him ‘the heart of the recovery community in Coventry’. Our sympathies to his family and many friends. DDN