Friday 31st July 2020 09:41
Thames Water will pay tribute to a much-loved network technician who passed away after a battle with cancer by lighting up Tilehurst Water Tower in his memory.
Charlie Lukeman, who died aged 63 earlier this month, worked for the water company in the Reading area for 35 years before retiring in 2017.
To celebrate his life, Thames Water will illuminate the tower with blue spotlights today, the day of his funeral.
Charlie joined Thames Water in the Eighties and originally worked on repairs before becoming a leakage technician and eventually a network service technician.
He took many current technicians under his wing, passing on advice and his years of knowledge about the local area.
Such was his expertise, he was awarded an MBE for services to the water industry.
Charlie, who lived in Tredegar Road, Caversham with his partner Fiona Simpson, was diagnosed with bowel cancer and underwent an operation to treat the illness in December. Sadly, the disease spread and he died on July 14.
Charlie had two children, Daniel and Nicola, from a previous marriage and outside of work loved fishing, motorcycles and nature. He also adopted a number of animals from local rescue shelters.
Lewis Trusty, Thames Water’s field services manager, said: “Charlie was much loved and well respected in the Reading team.
“He was a mentor and role model to all of us who had the privilege of working with him. He was a very kind and funny man with a wonderful sense of humour and was the life and soul of our social gatherings.
“Charlie remained in close contact with friends and colleagues and was always on hand to provide advice during his retirement years when he should have been enjoying a well-earned rest.
“His knowledge and experience was second to none and he was awarded an MBE for services to the water industry. Charlie was such a humble and modest man that he would get embarrassed talking about the honour even though it was so well deserved.
“Charlie has left a lasting impression on everyone who knew him and we will all forever have great memories of him. He will be missed by all.”
Thames Water has previously illuminated Tilehurst Tower red to mark Remembrance Day, while the structure was lit up blue in May to celebrate the work of NHS staff and frontline care workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The company will once again be working with lighting company APS UK for today's tribute.