Obituary: Hospitality entrepreneur James Lewis has died aged 56

17 July 2015 by
Obituary: Hospitality entrepreneur James Lewis has died aged 56

Restaurateur and catering entrepreneur James Lewis has passed away in hospital after suffering an accidental fall from a pier just outside Edinburgh.

Lewis, who was disabled and used a wheelchair, fell into Port Seton harbour in East Lothian, on last Thursday afternoon (9 July), and died later in hospital on Saturday 11 July. He was 56.

The tragedy is not being treated as suspicious and has been confirmed as an accident by Police Scotland.

Lewis was left paralysed in a swimming pool accident in Spain three years ago, but had been hailed an inspiration by those who knew him for the way in which he dealt with the incident.

Friends and family have taken to social media to pay tribute to Lewis, and to share their memories of his life, including his relative Marlene Love, who called him a "wonderful human being and incredibly brave" and confirmed he had helped three people in need after giving prior permission for his organs to be donated.

John Stevenson, founder and owner of hospitality cleaning specialists ACT Clean, who described Lewis as "a dear friend" and "a great motivator", and was on the fateful holiday in Spain with him in 2012, told The Caterer: "He was a huge inspiration to a lot of people and it was he who taught me to be a bartender in 1985. When I got the job of bar back and glass washer at the Electric Circus, James used to tell me that I was probably washing more glasses on a Sunday night than anyone else in the whole of Scotland, and I believed him.

"He will be sadly missed. He was one of Edinburgh's great hospitality guys."

Lewis worked in hospitality from the age of 18, initially on the QE2 yacht and then in bars in Edinburgh, including the Bianco's Bar. He helped to open the Electric Circus nightclub in the Scottish city, before taking a job as a waiter at Morton's Club, Berkeley Square in London.

He returned to Edinburgh as a main water for Giuliano's Italian restaurant, before opening his own restaurant, and eventually setting up a catering equipment company.

His funeral will be held on Tuesday 21 July, in Edinburgh.

Photo credit: James Lewis/Facebook

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