We are sad to announce the loss of our Mess Café and Catering Manager Tony Westwood who went home to be with the Lord this week.
After a nine-month battle with terminal throat cancer, Tony passed away peacefully in the early hours of Monday morning (Nov 21) aged 57, confident that he was going to be with his saviour.
‘We are mourning the loss of not only our legendary café manager but also a great dad, husband and all-round authentic follower of Jesus. We are convinced that our loss is heaven’s gain,’ said Andy Hawthorne.
Tony had been our café and catering manager since September 2014, providing discipleship and business support to our MEC team members. If you’ve ever been to one of our catered events or visited our café, it’s likely you’ll have been greeted by Tony.
He helped grow our turnover and team spirit by introducing and leading iconic events such as Thursday Night Live, our winter meal for the homeless and our Christmas Day dinner.
Tony lived a remarkable life. He’d been an Israeli paratrooper, a drug trafficker, a money launderer and a notorious Manchester gangster. Eleven years ago his life was dramatically transformed when he was led to Christ by his soon-to-be wife.
Cris Westwood came over from Brazil to work as a nanny and was introduced to Tony. They fell in love and despite not speaking a word of English she persuaded him to come to church, where he committed his life to Christ.
After getting married in Brazil they returned to the UK. Tony focused on two of his greatest passions – cooking and telling people about Jesus.
Tony spent a number of years as a multi-award winning head chef providing world-class food to thousands of diners at Old Trafford; despite being a fanatical Manchester City fan. But he was just as happy serving up a pair of fish finger sandwiches in our café.
Tony had an exceptional capacity for work and serving others. Even after working long shifts he managed to help transform a dilapidated church in Wythenshawe by passionately fundraising and fitting their new roof.
He truly embodied our values and passion for reaching the lost. Most weekends Tony would be out on the streets of Manchester with a Street Pastors team sharing the love of Jesus. Nothing would excite Tony more than seeing the hardest-to-reach come to know Christ.
Throughout his illness Tony would often visit us to offer his support and encouragement. He continued to share his faith right up until the end from his hospital bed.
Tony was a true gentleman who followed Jesus with passion and endurance. He will never be forgotten.
His wife Cris and four children Maryane, Anthony Junior, Joseph and Chanel are in our constant prayers.
Join us when we live stream Tony’s memorial service on our Facebook page on Saturday December 10 at 11am.