Friday 8th January 2016 marked the loss of one of one of Accessible Wales close friends and a personal friend of mine, Mr Alun Evans, or “Alun The Glan” as he was known to his friends.
Alun was a big supporter of Accessible Wales and someone, who for many years, I was lucky enough to call a close friend. He was instrumental in the early development of the company and hosted our launch at The Glancynon in September 2007 and the launch of Accessible News in 2008.
The launch marked the start of a long journey for Accessible Wales and one that saw us working with clients such as Celtic Manor, Leekes, the BBC, Penderyn Distillery and many, many more, some of which were recommended to us by Alun.
Alun always believed in the importance of access and the importance of providing opportunities for people with disabilities. Accessible Wales launch was filmed by the BBC, when asked why he felt access was important he said:
“My father was a wheelchair user and the number of places I could take him was limited.
“This is why I felt it was important to create a facility which was accessible to people with and without disabilities.”
Providing business support with a pint Alun was someone who I relied upon in the early years for advice on many issues from sales and marketing to business development. Under his helm and with the guidance of myself and my team The Glancynon Inn turned in to Accessible Wales flagship for access for people with disabilities, a project that started with renovating the car park and finished with an accessible toilet and Braille menus.
When I first met Alun he had never had any dealing with facebook or twitter and didn’t have a website. I’ve heard the saying “an analogue clock in a digital age” – this wasn’t the case, he had his finger on the pulse when it came to most things, with a gentle nudge and a bit of persuasion The Glancynon’s digital era began, with a website, facebook and twitter. We worked on developing the website, striving to ensure it was accessible to people with disabilities and had as much information on it as possible. Alun also wanted his patrons to get involved with The Glancynon and the facebook and twitter took off, sharing photographs and information about upcoming events.
Alun was a big advocate of charity fundraising and helped us in many of the events our non-profit group Accessible News organised, he also supported various charities including fundraising walks in aid of Tŷ Hafan.
Alun once said to me that it is better to reward people for good access than punish people for bad access. This is an ethos I am going to adopt when reorganising my Access Consultancy Service over the next few weeks.
Alun’s passing will be felt by all those connected to Accessible Wales, there are no words to convey the amount he helped and supported Accessible Wales. My thoughts go out to Ffion, Dewi and the rest of Alun’s family, he was a true gentleman and someone who was a great friend and inspiration to me.
Thank you for your time,