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Tributes paid to community hero who died of COVID-19 aged 62

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Tributes have been paid to a veteran martial arts teacher in Slough and community warden for the Royal Borough, who has died from COVID-19 aged 62.

Dave Lee, who lived in Merton Road, died at Wexham Park Hospital on Monday, after three weeks in intensive care. His career spanned 40 years, teaching self-defence, resilience and street safety.

Mr Lee was also an ‘unofficial community leader,’ someone who worked with Slough Borough Council to address gang culture and knife crime, then taking on pastoral work at Kingdom Come Temple in the Langley Pavilion.

Deputy council leader, Cllr Sabia Akram (Lab, Elliman) remembers Mr Lee from her childhood, learning martial arts from him during a summer holiday when she was about 10 years old.

Since her family could not afford classes, Mr Lee charged her just £1, and asked her to help him pack up after classes in exchange for lessons.

“He was unassuming, humble, known for his leadership and strength. He had a mass following, young and old, with enormous respect from young men particularly,” said Cllr Akram.

“He was also passionate that women had equal freedoms, the skills to keep themselves safe, and be confident about it. I said to him when I met him again last year, ‘You changed my life.’”

“He reached out to anyone and everyone, and even if he had nothing in common with them, people listened. He was approachable and had a real skill of diplomacy.”

Mr Lee is survived by his wife Rukshi and his two sons, Ryan and Aiden. Aiden runs his own martial arts school, FitRoots, where Mr Lee was still teaching before he fell ill.

“He brought out the best in everyone,” said Aiden. “He taught me to always keep fighting and give your best to everything.”

The family plan to hold a public memorial service when Government restrictions on gatherings are lifted.

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