Family and friends create 'perfect' tribute to generous businessman

Family and friends create 'perfect' tribute to generous businessman

Updated: 3 months, 4 days, 9 hours, 50 minutes, 6 seconds ago

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The family and friends of a Wirral businessman are remembering him with the “perfect” tribute.

Drew Cockton was the owner of the vegan fragrance brand, Owen Drew, and gained a following after appearing on Dragon’s Den where he secured a £50,00 investment. The death of the 36-year-old was confirmed by his family last week (Sunday, October 23).

In a Facebook post his mum Kate said: “We are truly, utterly heartbroken to have to tell you that our beloved Drew Peter George Cockton (my gorgeous boy) died peacefully at home yesterday. We are devastated beyond belief. Life is never, ever going to be the same again. Rest peacefully darling boy."

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Mr Cockton was said to be always “giving” and so, in an act of remembrance, his family and friends have come together to make one last donation in his name.

Mike Skeggs, Drew’s business partner and former partner, told the ECHO : “It still hasn’t set in, so I don’t know how it's going to impact me. It's a monumental loss for someone who was a massive part of my life and the business. It’s only been a week today so it's hard to determine where things will go when it does set in and how it will impact me.”

The 30-year-old, from the Wirral, explained how “over the years Drew had raised thousands of pounds for charity” and so creating a fundraiser to make one last donation in his name made “perfect sense”. Mike said: “Drew would always give, give and give, he was so selfless in that sense. So this is a fitting tribute. The family are undecided about what charities it will be donated to as Drew had worked with so many over the years so it will likely be split across a few.”

The initial target of the fundraiser was to reach £1,000 but having passed that already, the new goal is £10,000. Mike hopes it to be Drew’s “biggest charitable donation to date”.

The Wirral-based entrepreneur rose to rose to prominence after scooping a huge investment from multimillionaire Mr Suleyman on Dragons' Den. The budding entrepreneur impressed the Dragons after detailing his previous mental health issues and explaining why these were the driving force behind the creation of his business - and why the concept of wellness was so important to him. While Mr Cockton was on our screens, Mike was in the background “making sure everything was going to plan”.

The two created the vegan fragrance brand “at a kitchen table in 2016” when they were together in a relationship. After four years, they went their separate ways but continued being business partners and remained “huge” parts of each other's lives. Now, in memory of Mr Cockton, Mike is determined to keep the award-winning business going and ensure that his "vision for the company lives on and (will) continue to build upon the legacy that our beloved founder has created".

Dragon’s Den viewers watched as Drew began by explaining how at the age of 22, he had opened a hotel business on Manchester's Canal Street, quitting his job in financial services "against all the advice of my family" after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. At the time, he said: "I was totally inexperienced. I was working so hard that I actually made myself quite ill and had a breakdown."

Business partners Mike Skeggs and Drew Cockton

(Image: Mike Skeggs)

Undeterred by what he described as "failure", Drew started his business from the kitchen table of his home six years ago, making and selling candles on social media. The firm now has its own premises in Birkenhead , producing natural soy wax candles, soy wax melts and luxurious room mists, with all the products, made entirely by hand.

With first-hand experience of what it was like to be an LGBTQ+ business owner, Drew wanted to celebrate others in the same industry as him. Making his vision a reality, Drew created the North West LGBTQ+ Business awards last year with the aim of highlighting the enormous contribution the LGBTQ+ community makes to the North West economy. The second-ever event was held at Liverpool’s Titanic Hotel on October, Friday 21 - the same weekend Mr Cockton died.

Since his death, tributes have been flooding in for Mr Cockton including from American socialite, Paris Hilton, who is said to be a fan of the Owen Drew brand. Mike said Mr Cockton would have been “made up” and his life “complete” with the media personality’s message.

Sharing a series of messages to her Instagram account, Paris Hilton penned: “Devastated to hear the news of my friend & #LittleHilton @mrowendrew. He was so kind with a heart of gold. My heart breaks for his loved ones & family. Sending them all my condolences & so much love. RIP sweet soul. You were such a light! Love you always and forever.”

The Crowdfunding fundraiser can be donated to online.

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