Helston Rotary and Harlequin owner Brian Curtis dies from cancer

A Helston businessman and Rotarian who spent his time helping his community despite personal illness has died at the age of 56.

Brian Curtis came to Cornwall in 1988 from Burnham-on-Sea to start working at the Godolphin Club in Helston after needing a new direction in life.

Since that time Brian has worked in various pubs, including The Norway Inn, and ended up running The New Inn at Mabe Burnthouse with his partner Anne.

On leaving there in 2001 they decided to set up their own sign-making business in Helston and opened Harlequin Design in 2001.

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Brian showing his fun side

Around ten years ago Brian was persuaded to join Helston Rotary Club and enjoyed many events and fundraising activities including coming up with the idea to surround the Grylls Monument in poppies for the Remembrance Day celebrations in 2018.

Unfortunately a cancer diagnosis meant that these plans did not quite go as he wanted, but despite going through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, he was determined to get them made and sponsors found.

In 2013 he was recognised by Rotary with a Paul Harris Fellowship and last year was given a Sapphire Award reflecting the amount of work he had done, especially whilst suffering from cancer, and because of his donation of comforting ‘Soopa Bears’ to the children’s ward at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Read next: Royal Cornwall Hospital children’s ward gets Rotary support

He became president of Helston Rotary Club in July last year.

Brian was also a devoted dog lover and his current dog Bigsby, a Leonberger, is named after his other passion of guitar playing and making, having made about 13 in current years – his favourite being his ‘red Special’, which he used for countless gigs over the years with his band Point Blank.

He loved nothing better than being out on a Saturday night with his mates and playing classic rock at various pubs and clubs all over Cornwall.

Anne said that the last two years and nine months had seen a great deal of Brian’s time spent at the Sunrise Centre and Headland Unit in Truro, receiving many hours of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.

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Brian with his dog Bigsby, a Leonberger

“His determination, and strength and willingness to accept any treatment offered, was amazing,” she said.

“A huge thanks goes to the Oncology Team at Treliske from the family, for doing everything possible to help Brian through this journey.”

Unfortunately, having been given the news a few weeks ago that the latest chemotherapy was not working, Brian passed away on Friday (September 11) at home with his partner and beloved Bigsby by his side.

Anne said that she had already received “so many messages of love and support” and had not currently finalised a funeral date.

Due to coronavirus restrictions there will only be family and close friends invited to the funeral, but a live feed will be available for anyone wishing to pay their respects.

There will also be a donation link for Cancer Research on the Pendle Funeral Services website once a date has been finalised.

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