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Tribute paid to Bury St Edmunds character and 'sweetest soul' Alex Fejer





Tribute has been paid to a Bury St Edmunds character and the ‘sweetest soul’, who has died less than four months after his cancer diagnosis.

Between his diagnosis in November and his death on February 28 Alex Fejer, 58, raised funds for St Nicholas Hospice Care, walked his sister down the aisle and chose his own way to die.

His sister Juli Fejer said Alex lived every moment to the full despite his learning difficulties and was described as ‘the kindest, sweetest soul’ by those who knew him.

Alex Fejer in Bury St Edmunds market with his sister Juli. Picture: Submitted
Alex Fejer in Bury St Edmunds market with his sister Juli. Picture: Submitted

Juli said when Alex was young ‘mentally handicapped’ children were neither seen nor heard, but despite the brain damage caused by measles as a baby Alex’s parents instead brought him up at the centre of a loving family,

In 1984, the family moved from London to Bury so Alex could have more opportunities.

He benefited from a ground-breaking course for people with learning disabilities at West Suffolk College and worked at a supermarket collecting trolleys before working on a farm and later in a ‘sheltered factory’.

Alex Fejer, of Bury St Edmunds, who has died aged 58. Picture: Submitted
Alex Fejer, of Bury St Edmunds, who has died aged 58. Picture: Submitted

For many years Alex was a regular at the Bury Community Hub, where he enjoyed cooking and drama, and attended the Ahead Club.

He was a well-known figure in town and Julie said he could not walk down the street without meeting somebody he knew.

Juli said: “Alex’s disabilities were less visible than some. He could tell you the capital of Japan and would always ask how you were, but there were vast gaps in his understanding.”

Alex lived for most of his adult life in a supported living house staffed by Mencap, along with five other residents, on the Mildenhall Road estate. His death has left his housemates and the support team shocked and grieving, said Julie.

Alex Fejer, of Bury St Edmunds, who has died aged 58. Picture: Submitted
Alex Fejer, of Bury St Edmunds, who has died aged 58. Picture: Submitted

Last year, after going to the doctor with problems swallowing, a tumour was discovered in Alex’s oesophagus. The cancer was advanced and inoperable.

On learning his diagnosis, Alex said ‘I know I’m going to die. Let’s go and get carrot cake’.

Juli said: “The nurses and doctors who met Alex during his short illness were enchanted by the beautiful manners and old-world charm he had learned from his Hungarian father. Alex never complained, swore or snapped, never asked ‘why me?’. I wonder how many of us would have endured the pain and fear with such poise.

“He chose not to dwell on the future, facing each new problem as it arose, with dignity and grace.”

From the outset Alex wanted to spend as little time in hospital as possible and chose to die in his childhood home, with loved ones around him.

His sisters were determined to make Christmas as special as possible, while his Mencap family organised a Christmas party at the Newbury Community Centre, with a fund-raising raffle for the hospice.

Alex then had fun dressing up as Father Christmas to present a giant cheque to hospice fund-raiser George Chilvers.

When he was so sick he could hardly stand, Alex walked Juli down the aisle to marry long-term partner, Geoff.

Juli said: “Alex was the sweetest soul, not without his problems, of course, but a real character, whose death leaves a great aching void, but we are all telling ourselves ‘Alex wouldn’t want us to be sad. We must all try to be more Alex’.”

The funeral and celebration of Alex’s life will be held at West Suffolk Crematorium on Saturday at 11am. Please wear bright or rainbow colours.