A MAN who served in the armed forces and later dedicated himself to ensuring a group of fellow servicemen who died on Windermere were remembered has died, at the age of 84.

Born in 1935 in the cottages opposite the war memorial in Windermere, Donald Lowis, also known as Don to his friends and family, grew up with a love for local history.

Losing his mum at the age of 10, Mr Lowis left Windermere Boys’ Grammar School early to help contribute to the family finances.

He started as an apprentice to a French polisher and soft furnisher but then suffered from contact with the chemicals he was exposed to and left to join his older brother Vincent, also known as Vin, in painting and decorating.

Mr Lowis joined the Royal Army Service Corps, signing up for 22 years, serving in Paderborn, Germany.

He was originally headed to Belgium but when a senior realised that he could play the bugle he was re-routed to Germany. He was a weapons instructor and taught army personnel to drive.

The soldier took the option to leave after three years but was recalled as a reservist and saw service during the Suez Crisis in 1956 in Eygypt, a Canalzoner. Mr Lowis did not speak much about his service days to his family, except for stories of friendships and drunken escapades.

In later years he felt it was very important to remember those who served and following his appeal, which featured in the Gazette, six soldiers who drowned on Windermere in 1945 were remembered.

The memorial bench was unveiled in 2016.

In the early ‘50s, Mr Lowis met his wife to be, Margaret Collins, at a dance in Preston Patrick.

On the coach home he talked to Margaret and her friend Audrey and as his coat had been stolen earlier in the evening, he shared Margaret’s umbrella and walked her home. They had their first date the next day to Morecambe.

On Valentine’s Day in 1959, the happy couple married the day after Margaret turned 21 and this year the pair celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

They had three children, Joy, Sean and Sarah.

Both Sean and Sarah were born at Helme Chase in Kendal.

Over the years Mr Lowis had many jobs, from barman, to bagging coal and delivering ice cream for Walls and Lyons as well as dispatching fruit and vegetables.

Mr Lowis was also a member of St John Ambulance, supporting local football matches, motorcycle scrambles, festivals and firework displays.

Mr Lowis was interested in lots of things, history and art were two subjects he read widely about and he was an amateur painter for several years.

He had excellent general knowledge and loved quizzes, crosswords and played Scrabble online with people all over the world.

Following a work accident, Mr Lowis had to give up his allotment and took up fuchsia showing, eventually qualifying as a national judge with the British Fuchsia Society.

He developed a prize winning plant he named after his wife, the Margaret Lowis.

Mr Lowis entered many local horticultural society shows, made lots of friends and gave informative talks at local meetings.

He was very sociable and enjoyed the fun of joining floats in local festivals, with both The Brookside Pub, in Windermere, and Windermere Social Club.

Mr Lowis acquired the nickname ‘BFG’ Big Friendly Giant, as he was tall, with stand out ears and a prominent nose, and was a kind and compassionate man.

Well-known around Windermere, he will be missed by all who knew him.