A MUCH-loved family man, instrumental in transforming the Olympic Park has been remembered for his inspirational fight against motor neurone disease.
Andrew Gaskell, 38, of Queen Anne’s Gardens, South Ealing, fought against the condition until the end.
His wife Allison, 37, said: "Andrew was a fighter. He had always been a very positive individual, the life and soul of the party. His diagnosis was a massive shock. He had got the all clear from the CAT scan and so we thought the follow-up appointment at the hospital was just a formality.
"It was incredibly difficult to deal with but his first concern was other people, worrying about how they’d take the news."
Mr Gaskell was determined to make the most of his final days, including making a difference in the job he loved. He had already been key in developing the Olympic Park in Stratford before his diagnosis in January 2011.
There were difficult negotiations to move travellers’ sites, churches, allotments and other sensitive sits with the compulsory purchase of the land.
After the games – and his diagnosis – he continued to ensure people in the area would benefit from the changes. His achievements included securing the future of Chobham Manor, at the park, the first new neighbourhood which will see residents moving in from 2015.
The father of Joseph, seven, and Megan, four, did all this despite his condition deteriorating and losing much of his movement, including the use of his legs.
Mrs Gaskell said: "Everyone was amazed how long he did work for. He only stopped when he was unable to use a mouse or computer."
Colleague Rosanna Lawes, Director of Development at the London Legacy Development Corporation, added: “His quick intelligence and sharp wit, which remained undimmed during his illness, won him respect and affection. His intelligence, his personality and his tireless commitment will live on in the success of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”
Mr Gaskell died on February 26.
About 200 people attended his funeral in St Mary’s Church, South Ealing, on March 12.
Motor neurone disease attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, robbing a sufferer of their ability to walk, talk, eat and even breathe.
Mr Gaskell’s family and friends have raised £28,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association to help fund research.
His wife said: “There’s a lot of research going on but still nowhere near a cure. The only way they’re going to get that is if they have money for research.”
Visit www.mndassociation.org to find out more.