Haydn William Lewis
Born 27th December, 1956
Died aged 53 on 21st May, 2010
Known variously as Superman, Yoda, H, L’oreal, Lucky Lou and Mr Snark, Haydn was many things to many people. To his siblings; Gareth, Neil, Mark and Bev, he was a father figure from an early age. He used to help them get dressed, and made up the fire in the mornings. As children they all spent a lot of time with Nan and Grampy Dimond and they loved playing down on the mud flats and jumping off the pontoon. They used to have diving competitions and on one occasion the tide was so low that Haydn landed head first in the mud and the others had to pull him out!
Throughout his life Haydn was an animal lover. As a child the Lewis family had many strange pets, including an owl and a one legged magpie. There were mice, and even badgers! Haydn loved animals and was often to be found nursing injured ones back to health. He had a baby squirrel in his pocket for months and used to take it to school! Even at that young age he was conscious of doing what he thought was the right thing and of looking after those who needed help.
Even as a child, Haydn was patient and kind. He taught Bev to swim and to ride her first bike, and was happy to take her everywhere with him. He has been described by his brother Neil as: ‘… the common thread that kept the fragmented Lewis clan together through thick and thin.’
Even as a young child, Haydn loved to read, and he always said that after he met Gaynor, she encouraged him. His favourite books were classics such as ‘Cannery Row’, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and ‘Jaws’. His love of a good book was passed onto his siblings and, later, to Gaynor and their sons.
Haydn was always busy and was a man of many talents and interests. Whilst still at school he had a job at the indoor market, selling bone china and fancy Welsh goods. After school he worked for a while with the Welsh National Opera in the props department, helping to build sets, moving scenery and helping out generally. He was very good with his hands.
Employers were very nervous when they knew of Haydn’s haemophilia and, in spite of the fact that he cycled all the way from Llanrumney to Maesycoed Road to his job with Turners, they “let him go” because they were worried about him working on uneven ground.
In 1975 Haydn married Gaynor, his childhood sweetheart. By then he had left Turners and applied to go to Queen Elizabeth College in Leatherhead in 1975 to study to become a draughtsman. Haydn was very good at fine line drawing and detail.
He studied for a year and then applied for a job. But yet again, employers were nervous of his condition. So Haydn got a job in the steelworks, only this time he didnt tell his employers! He worked in the rod mill, doing double shifts.
Following the birth of Steven and Paul, Haydn left the steelworks and went back into construction and then became self-employed. He was a very talented carpenter, entirely self-taught. His training as a draughtsman no doubt served him well; he was a stickler for fine detail, a perfectionist to the point of being pernickety. His favourite saying was “measure twice and cut once”
Haydn liked playing backgammon and following horse racing with his mates.
He particularly enjoyed the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which he went to on a number of occasions. He loved all good music, from classic rock to contemporary dance. The house was always full of music and people. The 1980s were a happy time for Haydn. He and Gaynor used to go to live gigs like Simple Minds and U2. As a family, they watched comedy movies together, and he and Gaynor enjoyed Trivial Pursuit, liked listening to bands, watching foreign films and had holidays in Ibiza, Majorca,Tenerife, Corfu and Cyprus. Haydn loved Manchester United and one of his best nights out was a night in – watching the European Cup Final and cracking open a bottle of champagne
Haydn believed in truth, and justice, and was heavily involved in the contaminated blood campaign. He had a wonderful insight, a fantastic political brain and a quest for knowledge and information that went on until shortly before his death. In the words of Susan Watts, from BBC’s Newsnight:
“Haydn wanted to understand what went wrong, and he unearthed more about this than pretty much anyone, and did so not just for himself but for scores of other families he knew who were, and are, in a similar situation.”
Haydn had a great sense of humour, he had a wonderful all-round enthusiasm, he was humble, kind and gentle. He was a joy to work with and had a great sense of fairness and compassion. He held a special place in the hearts of many people, and his legacy will live on.
Haydn campaigned for truth and justice for over half of his life. He joined TaintedBlood at its start in 2006. He was infected with HIV in the 1980s and Hepatitis C in 1990 through haemophilia treatment. Like many other haemophiliacs he was also exposed to vCJD. In 2009 he underwent a liver transplant which seemed for a while to be successful. Sadly this was not to last and in 2010 his liver cancer came back with a vengeance.
Haydn was jointly responsible for the inception and much of the content of the Taintedblood Timeline, and was instrumental in processing data accumulated from Freedom of Information and other sources and turning it into useable evidence towards proving our cause. He had an amazing mind and his political knowledge and understanding was second to none. He fought so hard to live, even trying pioneering drugs in the hope of buying time to spend with his wife Gaynor, and his family. He loved his life and his home and wanted so much to reach an end to the campaign so that he could spend time leading as normal a life as possible. Sadly, this was not to be, and Haydn died on 21st May, 2010. He left behind a void that will never be filled, and will be much missed by everyone who knew him.
Rest in Peace, Haydn
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has left the world better than he found it;
Who has looked for the best in others and given the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration
Whose memory is a benediction.
Robert Louis Stevenson
With thanks to Haydns family and to the Humanist Celebrant Lisbeth Johns, who led Haydns funeral ceremony.