Lee, who developed sight loss as a result of diabetes, was a volunteer with the Royal National Institute of Blind People in Northern Ireland (RNIB NI) for over eight years, regularly involving himself in campaigning and fundraising for the charity. He was also an active member of the Lisburn Outlook social group.
Expressing his sympathy to Mr Woodward’s family and friends, David Mann, Chair of RNIB Northern Ireland, said: “The staff and volunteers of RNIB Northern Ireland were shocked and saddened to hear of Lee’s passing. Lee had been a volunteer with our charity for over eight years after developing sight loss himself as a result of diabetes. He was a friendly, outgoing, reliable and dedicated volunteer who worked across our campaigning and fundraising activities, and was an active member of the local Lisburn Outlook group.
“Lee also gave his time in delivering Visual Awareness Training throughout our Lisburn in Focus project where he was a familiar face around the local office, always willing to support our efforts in making every day better for everyone affected by sight loss.”
David continued: “Lee always had a smile on his face and had a mischievous sense of humour; he was also particularly fond of coffee! He loved life and lived it to the full as he enjoyed everything from self defence classes, Boccia and tandem cycling to ballroom dancing; he definitely never shied away from any of life’s challenges. He really developed his self confidence to organise fundraising activities for RNIB and campaign on issues that affect people with sight loss, so there is a real sense of loss at this sad time for everyone who knew and worked with Lee.
“Local members of our Campaigners Active Network (CAN) have also commented particularly on Lee’s direct involvement and support with campaigning issues. Lee helped out in every possible way and pushed himself to enable people to enrich their lives. RNIB Northern Ireland would like to extend our sympathies to his family and friends at this difficult time.”
Staff from RNIB attended Lee’s funeral on Saturday in Drumaness to personally pay their respects.
Also paying tribute to Lee, Lisburn Outlook Chairperson Margaret Mann said: “Everyone in Lisburn Outlook was devastated to learn of the sudden death of our friend Lee Woodward. Lee was a keen member of our tandem and walking groups, and a keen supporter of other Outlook events. He served on our committee and organised a very successful bowling evening in November; he had just volunteered to run another in April. He enthusiastically organised a ballot for our recent ‘Thank you to Volunteers’ meal, charming local businesses into providing prizes.
“Sight loss might have knocked him back initially, but he was now facing and enjoying life to the full. He will leave a huge gap in our organisation.”