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Low down on a local legend

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Tim Lowe Mellor Mellor Primary School Mellor March Mellor Society Friends of Mill Brow

Tim Lowe needs no introduction to many people living in Mellor and the surrounding area. He is a governor of Mellor Primary School, founder member of the Mellor March, bell ringer at St Thomas’s, founder of the Friends of Mill Brow, committee member of the Mellor Society, journalist for this paper, the list goes on and on and that’s without mentioning Tim’s involvement with good causes regionally and nationally.

Tim, former Headmaster at Hereford Cathedral junior school, grew up in Mellor and when he moved away he kept in touch with his roots and childhood friends. Coming back to the area when he retired was always Tim and wife Karen’s plan.

‘I’m proud of coming from Mellor and enjoy being involved in its lively community’, say’s Tim.

The liveliness of the community is in no small part due to Tim’s enthusiasm and ‘can do’ attitude. Like many ‘doers’ Tim is modest about his activities, quick to name others who are involved and praise their efforts and of himself, simply say he likes to give something back.

The ‘giving back’ has taken many forms, from helping to raise millions for cancer charities, through to giving freely of his professional expertise and of course the creation of local events that have fast become much loved community traditions.

Tim’s relaxed urbane manner disguises a steely determination to get things done. It would appear that many of his best ideas have been born, pint in hand, enjoying a drink with friends. However, unlike most people instead of just talking about things, he has actually been spurred into action and seen the ideas come to life. 

In 1995 Tim and friends Pad Whitham and Richard Jones came up with the idea for the Mellor March.  From small beginnings this annual event is now a well supported highlight of the local year, bringing families and friends together to walk the boundaries of the Parish enjoying the beautiful countryside and raising money for local cancer charities. To date it has raised over £200,000.

One of Tim’s greatest achievements is The Little Princess Trust, which came about in response to the tragic death of one of his pupils at Hereford Cathedral School, five year old Hannah Tarplee who died of cancer in 2005.

‘A few hundred pounds were donated in Hannah’s memory’ explains Tim. ‘Her parents Wendy and Simon wanted to use the money to help other children and together we came up with the idea of providing real hair wigs for children who had lost their hair due to cancer and other illnesses. For many children losing their hair is very upsetting, but a real hair wig can give a tremendous boost to their wellbeing. Unfortunately, they are very expensive and not available on the NHS, so the wigs provided free by The Little Princess Trust are in great demand. 

‘The Little Princess Trust has developed in a way we could never have foreseen’ says Tim. ‘Last year it raised over £4.5 million and is now involved in funding research into childhood cancers, as well as providing wigs. Thanks to high profile support from HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, as well as stars like Harry Styles and Jesse J, all of whom have donated their hair, we are able to help hundreds of children every year. I was delighted to learn that it is the nominated charity of the Mellor Rose Queen this year.’

Nationally, Tim is very much involved with promoting the Headway Education Foundation 1 Decision programme in primary schools as part of their Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE). Stockport schools are leaders in using this innovative idea to teach life skills and moral values. 

‘It’s a brilliant idea and something I am passionate about’, says Tim. ‘As a teacher, parent and grandparent I think it is vital that we teach children proper values from an early age and 1 Decision does that in a fun way.’

Closer to home Tim is current busy kicking off a campaign to raise £800 to provide a permanent memorial to Frederick Burdekin and Robert Nield, two soldiers from Mill Brow who gave their lives in the First World War. He is still thinking of the most effective way of raising the funds, sadly it won’t be by a Duck Race as there is insufficient water in his garden stream due to the long hot summer. However, for a man who persuaded Becky Adlington, Olympic Gold Medallist, to open the refurbished Mill Brow playground a couple of years ago he will no doubt come up with a fun way to raise the cash.