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Tributes in memory of ‘gentle giant’ bring comfort to family

Andy Foad

The death of a popular prison officer at his home in Herne Bay has left the town stunned this week. Andy Foad — described as a “gentle giant” and a “great friend” – died in Willow Farm Way, Broomfield, on Saturday morning. News of his death sparked a wave of tributes to the 28-year-old, who worked at Elmley prison on the Isle of Sheppey. His dad Neil said:

“We have been totally blown away by the strength of feelings about our wonderful son Andy, which has brought us great comfort. He was a larger-than-life character but a gentle giant who was always the first to offer help to anybody.”

Andy was one of six brothers and sisters: Chris, Jo, Sophie, Katie and Harry. Harry described him as an “amazing big brother”, writing on Facebook:

“Sometimes you just don’t realise how lucky you are to have people in your life until they’re gone. Goodnight my amazing big brother. You will always be loved and always be missed. I know you’ll always be there to watch over me. I love you bro, rest in peace.”

His sister Jo added:

“It means so much to know Andy was loved by so many and was a part of so many people’s lives! It brings great comfort reading all of your wonderful memories and stories. Rest in peace big brother, love you with all my heart and not a day will go by that I won’t miss you. Sleep well.”

Andy, known as ‘Foady’ to many of his friends, was a former pupil at Herne Bay High School and had previously been a part of Herne Bay Youth Theatre – retaining his love of dressing up in his adult years. Friend Kim Bennett wrote:

“I remember you laughing ‘til you cried, always having a story to tell, forever hungover, growing a beard then not growing a beard, doing impressions, playing practical jokes & never taking anything seriously. I just don’t know what to say now except this… Have a good time up there foot long foady, I’ll never forget you pal.”

Prison colleague Jenny Collins added:

“There are no words. Elmley will never be the same without you. We will all stand together and you will always be there with us, you were an amazing friend, colleague and officer. You will live on in all our hearts, Foady.”

Neil posted on Andy’s Facebook profile to thank all those who had paid tribute to his “wonderful son”. He wrote:

“Jacki and I, along with our family and Dee, would like to thank everybody for their wonderful messages, thoughts and photos. We will in time be holding a celebration of Andy’s life to which you are all invited, and in the meantime our house is open to anyone who wants to talk about him.”

He added Andy’s former fiancee Dee “remains very much a part of our family” and will miss him dearly. Police were called to Willow Farm Way at 9.45am on Saturday. They are not treating Andy’s death as suspicious. A report is being prepared for the coroner.

Herne Bay Gazette, March 26th 2015

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