Tributes flood in for much-loved Rugby driving instructor

Graham Downes
Graham Downes

Hundreds of tributes have been paid to a much-loved Rugby driving instructor who has died suddenly.

Graham Downes, affectionately known as “Downsey” was 58 when he passed away on July 8.

He suffered a cardiac arrest in the early hours of Friday June 19 - just two days before he was to celebrate his 58th birthday and Fathers Day.

Graham, pictured, was taken to Walsgrave’s University Hospital by ambulance, where he was kept on the critical care ward for nearly three weeks.

He lost his battle with dignity and pride.

His family told the Advertiser: “Graham was a workaholic who lived for his job as a driving instructor.

“He was one of the longest standing instructors in Rugby and achieved a brilliant reputation.

“He was a joker, and loved making people laugh. He was a man who would remember every conversation he had with his pupils even if it was 25 years ago.”

Graham set up as a driving instructor in 1987 and taught thousands of successful learners - going on to teach their friends and family.

He leaves behind his wife of 18 years Linda, his two children Rachel and Stuart, two step daughters Lisa and Kelly and six grandchildren.

Rachel said: “Dad was loved by so many people.

“He was one of a kind and everyone who knew him liked him.”

Graham had many hobbies. His family said his dog, Pip, a Jack Russell cross, was like his baby.

They said he lived for his holidays and made sure he had three a year.

In his younger years he spent time playing football for Rugby Police.

Graham’s funeral will be held at 1pm at Rainsbrook Crematorium on Thursday July 23, followed by a celebration of his life at Rugby Town Junior Football Club, Kilsby Lane, Rugby.