Tributes to Hastings man who helped drug users and the homeless

Family and friends have paid tribute to a community stalwart, who worked tirelessly to help drug users and the homeless.

Nick Casey SUS-190715-094432001

Nick Casey died aged 70 on July 3, 2019, after battling lung cancer.

His daughter Jessica said: “Dad worked in frontline substance misuse support with Addaction in the early 1990s, where he set up Hastings’ and St Leonards’ first Needle Exchange, to minimise the harm created by injecting drugs, which was quite progressive at the time. He also worked with colleagues to develop a National Needle Exchange programme.”

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Mr Casey’s colleague, Kevin Dillistone, from NHS Health Promotion, said: “His work with the NHS was predominately with training developing bespoke sessions for his audience. He worked very closely with the police and went into schools and voluntary organisations, often with the police who brought a ‘drugs’ kit, explaining the dangers of drugs, what was around at that time and how to prevent harm like drinks from being spiked. He trained most of the professionals in the county and was considered an expert in his field. He also founded the county’s annual Substance Awareness Conference. He did a lot of work, with great success, helping individuals who had a substance problem and wanted to get clean. How many people he helped this way will never be known because he was not one to ‘blow his own trumpet’.

“He was a very respected man, not only for his wealth of knowledge about substance awareness, but also his understanding towards those in need of help.”

Jessica added: “Dad was also very concerned with homelessness. In his retirement he was heavily involved with Emmaus. Before moving to Hastings in 1987, Dad worked in social services and youth services with Dr Barnados in south London.

“He loved Hastings, and he finally ‘settled’ when we moved here, never happier than when sitting in his garden at Godwin Road taking in the view over the valley and down to the sea, or up on the East Hill walking his dog through the rabbit fields.”

Mr Casey is survived by his wife Marie, children Tom, Jessica and Steph, and grandchildren Roxy and Tessa. His funeral took place yesterday (Thursday) at St Mary’s Star of the Sea church followed by the Motorboat and Yacht Club.

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