Mourners at ‘inspirational’ Brian Rowe’s funeral raise hundreds for Motor Neurone Disease Association

A devout Christian’s epic battle to help those suffering from a debilitating disease has continued to bare fruit – even after his death.

Renew Church pastor Matthew Murray was expecting to see no more than £50 in the charity bucket at Brian Rowe’s funeral.

But he was “amazed” to discover mourners had given £470, which will now benefit the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association.

Brian was staunch supporter of the charity throughout his own inspirational eight-year battle with the disease.

Uttoxeter man Brian Rowe, who has motor neurone disease
Uttoxeter man Brian Rowe

Rev Murray said: “Brian’s family had requested we raise money for the MND Association at his funeral, but we weren’t expecting anywhere near what we got.

“It speaks volumes for how well-loved the man was. MND is a cruel, debilitating disease and he’d have wanted the money to go nowhere else.

“He was a great example for everyone. Many times when illness comes our way, we accept defeat and give up on life, accepting the experts’ predictions.

“But Brian showed great determination and faith in God and kept going right to the end.

“Although he lost his ability to walk, his scooter was visible around town most days.

“When I see one now, I get sad, because it reminds me Brian’s no longer with us.

“He was a great inspiration and the church and community in Uttoxeter adored him.”

The donations were bolstered by £100 from the church’s its Connexions group – a lunch club for older people, of which Brian was a “very popular” member.

Staff at Home Bargains, in Uttoxeter, where the Hornbeams resident loved shopping, also contributed.

A top-up from the church, which is in High Street, brought the final total to £600.

Rev Murray said: “It’s testament to the man he was that so much money was raised for charity at his funeral.

“As a devout Christian, charity was such a big part of his life and he did a lot of charity work before he died.”

Brian Rowe with Uttoxeter ASDA staff giving Easter eggs to underprivileged children
Brian Rowe with Uttoxeter ASDA staff giving Easter eggs to underprivileged children

Former Wincanton truck driver Brian was 76 when he died at Royal Stoke Hospital in December.

His funeral saw son David, also a driver for Wincanton, transport his dad’s coffin to the church on the back of his beloved ERF cab.

Son David Rowe (right) and grandson Nathan Rowe on the day of Brian Rowe's funeral. His coffin was transported to and from the service on the back of an ERF truck similar to the one he used to drive for a living
Son David Rowe (right) and grandson Nathan Rowe on the day of Brian Rowe’s funeral. His coffin was transported to and from the service on the back of an ERF truck similar to the one he used to drive for a living

Brian credited his strong Christian faith with helping him survive MND so long.

The MND Association funds research into the disease and offers vital support for sufferers.

What is MND?

MND has been made famous by physicist Dr Stephen Hawking’s epic 50-year struggle with the disease.

However, his success fighting MND is a complete one-off, as most sufferers die within a year of diagnosis.

It attacks nerves in the brain and spinal cord and there is no cure. Unable to move their limbs, sufferers see their muscles waste away.

They become wheelchair-bound and are usually almost completely paralysed from the neck down.

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