Tributes to Sidford dad Andy, 45, who ‘touched so many people’s lives’

Andy Cole on a family holiday to Cornwall

Andy Cole on a family holiday to Cornwall - Credit: Archant

Tributes have poured in for a ‘Sidford through and through’ entrepreneur who would do anything for anyone – and often did.

Father-of-two Andy Cole died suddenly and unexpectedly on Monday, February 6, after being admitted to hospital with what loved-ones thought was a chest infection.

The 45-year-old had worked away solidly for years, but last August decided to give that up and remain in his beloved Devon, with his family and business interests closer to home, in what his wife of 13 years, Lynda, had joked was his semi-retirement.

“Andy embraced life and went after it with everything he had,” she said. “There was never a moment to be wasted.

“He was a self-made man and he had such an immense capacity for things. His idea was to provide for us, then come back here for a quieter life.

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“He was getting to the point he always wanted to be at.”

Andy grew up in Frys Lane with parents John and Margaret and had a lifelong love of working on their cousin’s nearby farms – Burscombe Farm as a child, then Bickwell Farm for all his adult life.

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He met Lynda when they were both working in marketing at Friends Provident in Salisbury. They were friends before they became a couple, which gave their marriage a solid base. When their son Sam came along, they were travelling a lot to the Sid Valley to visit Andy’s parents, whose health was declining. They soon decided to move back to his home town, where Lynda would focus on raising their children. Sam is now 11, his sister Molly is 10.

Andy got into marketing consultancy and helped launch two successful start-ups, before stepping back last year to focus on their Sidmouth businesses - The Chattery and VW Camper Hire. In his 20s, he captained Sidmouth’s second hockey team for a time – more because of his dedication than his skill, he would argue. In more recent years, he became the treasurer and one of the organisers for Sidford’s annual fete and recently started training to be a rugby coach, as Sam is a keen player. Andy was also a member of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce.

Lynda has been overwhelmed by the messages of support she has received from across the country.

“He had pockets of friends everywhere that thought so much of him,” she said. “People have written saying he was a top bloke, or they wouldn’t be where they are in their career without him. He touched so many people’s lives.

“He was magnanimous and gentle and he could talk to anyone, whatever their walk of life. He would do anything for anyone – and he frequently did.”

Andy’s funeral will be a celebration of his life and will take place at Sidmouth Parish Church at 11am on Monday (February 20). Afterwards, people are invited to pay their respects in Sidbury Cemetery, or to join his family at the Blue Ball Inn.

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