THE Yate parents of a man who dedicated himself to raising thousands of pounds for charity despite suffering from a brain tumour have paid tribute to their ‘brave and wonderful son’.

Brian and Pauline Meek told the Gazette their son Ian had joked and smiled to the end. Ian, who was diagnosed with a tumour 18 years ago, lost his fight for life on August 1. He died at a hospice in Yorkshire, where he had moved some years ago, surrounded by his parents, wife Sally, 39, and three children Keisha, 20, Hannah, 18, and Samuel, 15. Ian’s mother Pauline, of Pitchcombe, said: "Ian deteriorated quite quickly in July and was admitted to a hospice where the staff kept coming in to see him because they thought he was so wonderful.

"With Ian, everybody said he was just a natural with people. He drew everybody in. Straight away the staff kept saying to us he is special."

Pauline, 67, and her husband Brian, 68, said watching Ian carry the Olympic torch through York in June was a moment they will never forget.

"He absolutely loved it," said Pauline. "It was a wonderful day. I had made a knitted torch and when I gave it to him, he burst into tears.

"We just take everything for granted but Ian never complained. We had some lovely days together, and other days he was very sleepy. But the day before he died we just knew."

The family held a birthday party for Ian on July 23, despite the fact he was actually born on February 13.

"He wanted another birthday," said his mum. "He said he knew he was going to die aged 42 and he wanted to be 43. He was so funny."

Ian, a former pupil at Rodford Primary School and King Edmund Community School (now Yate International Academy) was diagnosed with a benign tumour in 1994 ago after suffering a fit on the way home from a football match. Despite five major operations, the tumour turned malignant nearly three years ago.

But Ian dedicated his remaining time to raise money for Brain Tumour Research and Support across Yorkshire (BTRS) and under the name Meeks’ Feats, he collected more than £100,000 to fund a research student at the University of the Leeds for three years.

He was known for wearing a T-shirt inscribed with the words ‘When you are diagnosed with cancer, don’t think about the things you can’t do, dream and do the things you can'. Events he organised included a group of 61 supporting completing the 3 Peaks challenge in 2010 and a 200-mile bike ride from Bristol to Yorkshire.

Several of his friends were in the process of cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats when he passed away and as part of his funeral service, they accompanied the hearse on their bikes in a touching reminder of Ian’s fundraising achievements.

Said Pauline: "He said if things don’t go right, and he knew they wouldn’t, he wanted an annual charity bike ride set up in his name. That has been done and the aim now is to raise another £100,000.

"We are so very proud of him."

A thanksgiving memorial service is to be held at St Nicholas Church in Abbotswood, Yate on Saturday, September 8 (3pm). All who knew Ian are welcome to attend.