TRIBUTES have been paid to a senior court official who died of cancer earlier this month.
Howard Fisher was the Combined Court Manager.
He died aged 61 on January 6 and his funeral was due to be held on Friday, January 20.
Mr Fisher, who lived with his family in Westham, began his working life at Lewes as a court clerk, then took on the role of list officer before becoming Court Manager.
He was also a pioneer of the Witness Service.
Last week senior judges, court officials, solicitors and barristers gathered at Lewes Crown Court with Mr Fisher’s wife Jane and two daughters Katy and Rachel for a moving ceremony in his memory.
Among those attending were colleagues who had taken part in the triathlon at Seaford to raise money for cancer charities.
In addition, a conference room at the Lewes court is to be renamed the Howard Fisher Room.
Leading the tributes was His Honour Judge Richard Brown who described Mr Fisher as a “happy man with a wonderful sense of humour, somebody who always had time to talk, but also had time to listen”.
Judge Brown said, “He was committed to his work and dedicated to his wife and two lovely girls. He leaves us as a hero.”
Mr Fisher’s colleague Dave Manning also paid tribute to his good friend and said, “I am fortunate to say that Howard was my best mate, and I’ve been very lucky to have shared 20 years with him.
“Wherever he’s gone I have never heard a bad word said about him.
“He helped so many people that came through our system, good, bad and indifferent, he has really helped everybody.
“He was a real sea of calm at all times, he rallied his entire team all the time and was a real pillar of strength throughout in any situation, an amazing guy.”
Representing the Sussex Bar, Marcus Fletcher said Mr Fisher was well liked and respected by all the judiciary, barristers, solicitors and the court staff and the only person to be unanimously elected to the Sussex Bar as an honorary member.
He said, “He was a kind man, a gentle man but above all a good man.”
Tim Thompson from the Crown Prosecution Service said he would be remembered by many people with immense respect, affection and admiration for how he lived his life.
Mr Thompson said, “His will and ability to keep going and keep coming back to work through stage after stage of illness made the sad news of his death even more shocking.”
Representing the Sussex Law Society, Andrew Bishop said Mr Fisher was unflappable and approached everyone and everything in a calm manner.
He added, “He had an infectious smile, he had time for everyone and he will be sadly missed by everyone at court.”