In memorium: Arnold Fewell FCSI

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Highly respected hospitality consultant, marketing expert and disability campaigner Arnold Fewell has died

Longstanding FCSI member, Arnold Fewell, managing director of AVF Marketing and accessibility training company AccessChamp, has died aged 67. After his brave fight against cancer, which returned four years ago, Fewell passed away in the early hours of Thursday 14 February 2019 surrounded by his family.

Fewell was a former hotelier who became well-known and respected for his passion for transforming school meals, winning many awards for his achievements in the hospitality industry. In 1988 he won the Industrial Caterer of the Year at The Cateys and in 2012 was crowned the winner of the Special Award. He also helped clients to win Cateys in 2009, 2011 and 2012 including the Group Marketing Award with LACA. Fewell was also awarded the EDUcatering Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

Campaigning for change

A life-changing accident in 2000 left Fewell as a permanent wheelchair user. As a former hotel general manager (prior to this he was a graduate trainee at Trusthouse Forte), Fewell was often shocked how hotels and restaurants treated him and other disabled guests. It left him with a strong desire to “drive changes that would help others for generations to come,” according to his eldest daughter, Karen Fewell.

Fewell created AccessChamp to give disabled people a more enjoyable hotel experience. He ran courses across the UK, as well as creating an online resource (www.accesschamp.co.uk). He was presented with the Catey Special Award in 2012, recognising an incredible career and a pioneering campaign that highlighted what the industry can do to improve accessibility.

Fewell’s wife Lynn and three daughters, Karen, Nicola and Sarah, have expressed an aim to continue his pioneering work on accessibility in his memory and will be running training courses and driving awareness “in the hope they can create more Access Champs in the hospitality industry”. More details of this initiative will be revealed on this site over the coming months.

Dedication to the cause

“Arnold was a long time member and supporter of the FCSI and will be sorely missed,” says Louise Willis, executive director, FCSI UK & Ireland. “Our thoughts are with Arnold’s family at this sad time.”

On hearing the news, Mark Lewis, chief executive of Hospitality Action, paid tribute to Arnold. “In my time at The Caterer and Hospitality Action, I’ve been privileged to meet many admirable people. None have I admired more than my friend, Arnold Fewell,” he said.

“Arnold’s career in hospitality straddled hotel operations, school meals provision and marketing. Whatever his focus, he threw himself wholeheartedly into his work. That The Caterer now presents an Accessibility Catey each year, is entirely down to Arnold’s tenacity and dedication to his cause. Arnold adored the Cateys, and presenting him with the Catey Special Award in 2012 was one of the highlights of my career at The Caterer. Arnold had a passion for making the world a better place. In truth, he achieved that simply by being here with us.”

Karen Fewell said: “As a family we are incredibly proud of all dad has achieved during his career and his passion and determination to improve services for disabled people has inspired so many. Throughout his illness, dad continued to work and has been so determined to make real changes in hospitality to improve experiences for others, despite his own health issues.

“Dad always said he wanted his legacy to be how he had made hospitality accessible for all and he has made some significant changes and brought accessibility higher up the agenda in this industry. However, there is so much work still to be done which is why as a family we’ll continue this journey. Dad helped us fall in love with the world of hospitality, just like he did, and we are so grateful for the love the industry has shown him.”

A celebration of Arnold’s life will be held over the coming weeks and all hospitality friends are welcome. Please contact Karen Fewell for details: Karen@digitalblondemarketing.com.

Michael Jones


Pictured: Arnold Fewell FCSI pictured with his wife Lynn and daughter Karen Fewell