The Hunter business community has lost one of its own.
Phil Lyons, Co-owner of Pride Dry Cleaning & Laundry, died on July 22 after a five year battle with cancer.
A packed memorial service at Baptist Liberty Church heard that Phil was a much loved, quiet achiever in the business community.
His wife, Hunter Business Chamber Director Jennie Lyons, is heartbroken at losing her soul mate and business partner. Jennie said she is determined to continue the successful transformation of their Islington-based business in his honour.
Phil was a worker at the dry cleaning business when it became clear that it was in financial difficulty. He persuaded Jennie for the couple to buy it in 2010. Together they have transformed it into a successful, award-winning, eco-friendly business.
Success did not come without overcoming some very large hurdles.In 2012 Phil was diagnosed with an aggressive sarcoma (cancer) and given less than six months to live. His treatment culminated in 2014 with Phil undergoing a full hind quarter amputation which left him in a wheelchair.
To enable Phil to keep working in the business, two specially designed, German built, wheelchair friendly machines were installed; the only two of their kind in the world.
“Phil wanted his experience to be an inspiration to other people and always used to say cancer is just a word, not an end,” Jennie said.
“He was proof you can adapt a business to accommodate people with disability and you can successfully own and run a business if you have a disability.
“Publicly, Phil was always happy to take a back seat but the business was his pride and joy.
“He was an inspirational leader and has left a great legacy for others in the business community to strive to emulate.
“No one knew how much pain Phil was going through.
“He always had a cheeky smile, never once complained and was always thinking of others.
“When he was supposed to be at home resting, he would let me head into work and then turn up in a taxi.”
Jennie said Phil was also a talented musician, even writing a score for a movie. His music featured in the service. Phil often described himself as a musician when asked for his occupation, rather than business owner.
“Phil was proof that you can be successful in business without letting it define you or be the only aspect to you,” Jennie said.
Staff from Pride formed a guard of honour as Phil’s body was driven away for cremation showing the respect and love the staff had for “the boss”.
Phil is survived by Jennie and his children Steven and Becka. Vale Phil Lyons, rest in peace.
IMAGE | Phil and Jennie Lyons.