Tributes paid to 'remarkable' Levi Niemann

Shay Bottomley

Levi Niemann, a stalwart fundraiser whose skydive raised thousands for charity, has died at the age of 48.

The enthusiastic individual, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity which ‘gave him his life back’, passed away from cancer on Sunday, June 12.

Levi, who lost his sight in a workplace accident in 2012, raised the money for Guide Dogs and said his trusted dog, Hugo, had played a crucial role in improving his quality of life.

“I thought it was imperative to go out there and help another person like myself so they can have their independence, freedom and confidence back,” Levi said before the jump.

Sasha Bardwell, commercial support manager for Maidenhead United, first met Levi in 2020 through the Magpies Community Care Helpline during the pandemic, which helped support him with his shopping and provide a rota to walk Hugo.

Sasha said: “I knew that Levi was living with this terrible disease, and this was something he had always wished to remain private – given what he achieved during his last two years whilst quietly suffering in silence has been heart-breaking at times to watch.

“He was so charismatic, hugely inspiring and remained positive and full of hope till the very end.

“I feel privileged that our paths crossed and my memories of him will always remain strong. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him.

Former Advertiser journalist, Karin Hurst, assisted Levi through the helpline initiative.

She said: “Levi was remarkable. Despite all the challenges he faced, Levi’s enthusiasm and zest for life was infectious. He always had numerous projects on the go and was busy thinking of the next thing.

“It was such a privilege to know Levi and he taught me a lot about living life to the full. I will miss the cheerful greeting both Levi and Hugo gave you when you arrived at their house.”

Religion was a major factor in Levi’s life.

Peter Cranch, vicar at Blenheim Free Church, said: “Levi was a much-loved member of Blenheim Free Church. He was passionate about two things that had changed his life; his guide dog and Jesus.

“He raised thousands of pounds for Guide Dogs and gave away thousands of Bibles so other people could experience these things too.

“Levi had battled cancer for several years but hadn’t told many people because he didn’t want his cancer to be the thing that defined him.”

Hugo – ‘the Boss’ as Levi affectionately called him – played a huge role in giving Levi his freedom back after he lost his sight in 2012.

After this, Levi became a major supporter of the Guide Dogs charity.

"It was a great shock to here of Levi's battle with cancer and his passing, and so unfair with all he had to deal with in his short life," said Ron Field, group coordinator for the East Berkshire Fundraising Group.

"I first met him in March 2019 when he wanted to give back to Guide Dogs for having his life-changing Hugo and to help others to have that same experience.

"He then became a key member of the East Berkshire Fundraising Group and was much-admired and loved by all those in the group."

Just weeks before he died, Levi was awarded for his contributions at the Guide Dogs 2022 Volunteer Awards, and was said to be ‘very proud’ of the achievement.

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