My brother, Ian Sedwell, died on the 1st November 2016, following an extraordinarily brave battle with cancer. He was, as a friend said, “a wonderful human being”. He was also a talented folk musician, well-known in and around Weymouth, Dorset, his place of birth and to where he always returned.
Ian’s passion for folk music developed from the time he got his first acoustic guitar at the age of 17, Ian said. From then on, everywhere Ian went, his guitar went with him.
Ian’s battle with cancer began in 2009 when he suddenly collapsed. Investigations discovered a malignant tumour in one of his kidneys, which was removed as soon as Ian was well enough for the operation. Unfortunately, the cancer had already spread.
Nothing was going to stop Ian from having a great time!
From around 2010 onwards, Ian did more appearances at festivals, while continuing his well-established gigs circuit. Ian also volunteered to do a regular slot on the local radio station, AIR 107.2 FM, which he absolutely loved.
Away from music and his work as a freelance software designer, Ian enjoyed engaging in ‘armchair politics’ on Facebook and writing letters to the local press, challenging decisions or plans that he believed were socially unjust or destructive to local heritage. Ian was a genuine “Have a Go Hero”, who gave his all to people or issues that mattered to him, and didn’t care if some people didn’t like his opinions. He was going to say them in any case! His less controversial interests included baking delicious cakes and country walks, which he combined with an interest in landscape and nature photography.
During his illness, Ian became a member of the Council of Governors at the Dorset County Hospital. He was immensely grateful for the pioneering treatment he had received at Southampton University Hospital. It had given him extra time that he would not otherwise of had and Ian wanted to give something back.
Ian’s free spirit never died
Ian was a popular musician and, almost to the moment he returned to hospital for the last time, Ian continued to perform his music at gigs and festivals, laughing and joking, and sharing with others what he loved the most, singing and playing his guitar.
Beneath the ‘breezy bravado’, however, there was a caring and sensitive man. Of Ian’s songs, the most poignant are those that he videoed himself singing in his home studio a few months before he died – Picture Us Always, Go Your Way My Love and Time to Go. They suggest Ian was preparing himself and his loved ones for his departure.
Ian was only 61 years old at the time of his death. He had boldly faced the challenges cancer created in his life for nearly 7 years. His music (and the people he shared it with) was the passion that drove Ian through the hard times, and enabled him to give many happy memories to those around him.
On the day of Ian’s funeral, 23rd November 2016, AIR 107.2 FM, a community radio station, broadcasted a tribute show to Ian’s memory. They gave Ian a wonderful and touching ‘send off’ that he would have loved.
Like all folk music, Ian’s songs tell stories about past times. They are an expression of Ian’s compassion for others and his defiance in the face of anything he believed an injustice or unfair. They are Ian’s legacy to everyone who, like him, believes in free speech, integrity above self-interest, and a genuinely caring society.
This website is a reconstruction of one created by Ian in 2012. It retains his pages and his words, and also draws together content that Ian had uploaded or posted to various places online. Many new photos and links have been added to give a more complete picture of Ian’s life.
I hope you enjoy looking and will visit again soon.
If you would like to make a donation as a tribute to Ian’s memory and to support other people facing the challenges of cancer in their lives, please click here.
Written by Marian, Ian’s sister, 2019