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So all good festivals have a heart & soul because without them they wouldn’t survive. It’s not about big corporate budgets and spreadsheets being squeezed for the best margins, it’s about credible ideas, belief, trust, commitment, hard work and support. Glass Butter Beach has a story behind it, some will know it but many others won’t. It’s deeper than the one you can read on the GBB website but basically the festival has deep roots and is proudly growing strong. It has been able to do this by a lot of great people, believing & supporting, still supporting!

However, one guy & passionate surfer went above and beyond what can ever be expected in the way of support for a young festival. He understood the vision, the ambition, & the tough struggle that is part of the story and he played a key part in the festival’s growth & identity. Sadly this great guy & true friend of the festival is no longer with us and Glass Butter Beach 2014 was his last festival. He left with us his creativity though, and we are honoured to have the support of his friends & family to carry on his legacy and fittingly naming the Surf Shack stage after him.

Introducing the Lee Knowles Surf Shack, a raw stage that no one will argue started its life as primitive as it gets, but will be developed creatively and credibly into something we can all be proud of, and will play host to some of our countries freshest talent & future stars.

Lee William Knowles born 11th July 1968, Lee was a very talented sign writer and graphics designer who had a flair for the unusual, he was a very accomplished musician in his own right and would always be seen with guitar in hand at any festival when camping and socialising was to be found.

A very popular and friendly guy who loved Llandudno and North Wales, nothing would be too much trouble for Lee and he was always at hand to give advice whether you wanted it or not! From birth Lee suffered with heart problems, but this never stopped Lee from doing what he wanted to do, but by the age of Five it became apparent something had to be done and in 1974 Lee had to undergo ground breaking surgery to have a new Aortic valve replacement, it was deemed a short term fix at the time, fast forward to 2014 by now Lee had become a Third Dan black belt karate instructor and lead an incredibly active life, was a surfer, snowboarder, mountain biker and all round outdoor fanatic but still with the same replacement valve from 1974.

Lee was starting to feel ill effects of the valve as it was starting to deteriorate. So it was decided after months of consultations that Lee would have a valve replacement operation at Broadgreen Hospital in Liverpool on 8th September 2014, the operation was not without risks and was a “Challenge” as described by Lee’s surgeon afterwards, over the next week or so Lee made a steady and reassuring recovery from the surgery, on the day of his scheduled discharge from Hospital Lee suffered massive heart failure and was taken into immediate surgery where after 14 hours was put onto a heart and lung bypass machine, as Lee had suffered catastrophic heart failure, over the next four days lee battled for life and was surrounded by family and friends throughout, but on Saturday 20th September after consultation with Lees surgeon it was decided by the family that Lee’s life support should be switched off.

Lee Knowles passed away that afternoon, a fighter until the very end, he has left a huge gap in the lives of everyone that knew him, his funeral on 3rd Oct 2014 was attended by over 600 people and his hearse was a converted VW Camper van that epitomised the man he was, a free spirit, dependable and always ready for the next big adventure.

The Knowles family could not praise the staff and facilities at Broadgreen Hospital enough, they gave Lee a fighting chance and their professional and personal support was outstanding and a credit to the NHS, In addition to our own tribute to Lee we want to help Lee’s family raise £10,000 for the Liverpool Chest and Heart Hospital at Broadgreen where Lee passed away, to supply equipment and care for patients at the hospital and support the staff there.

If you get the chance, a small donation to support this very worthy cause will be hugely appreciated. Donate via this link http://www.justgiving.com/leeknowles or go and enjoy the Lee Knowles Surf Shack at GBB15 and donate while you’re there. Respect……

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