Brain surgery survivor and public services pioneer dies aged 62
- Credit: Archant
Tributes have been made to a “highly respected and influential” retired director who has died after surviving brain surgery more than a year ago.
Mike Britch, of Wacton, near Long Stratton, was a former managing director and a well-known leader in local government services.
From 1993, when he joined Norfolk County Council (NCC) as managing director of NPS consultants, to his retirement as managing director of the Norse Group of companies, Mr Britch led and helped shape new models of public service delivery for a wide range of property, facilities management and care services.
He was a speaker at many local government and property-related conferences and, under his leadership, Norse companies won a wide variety of business and community awards.
Following his retirement in 2018 from the Norse Group, he worked as an independent business consultant and became managing director of Cornerstone Property Assets.
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He also supported local voluntary organisations and became chair of Age UK Norwich.
Tim Byles, a former chief executive for NCC and executive chairman of Cornerstone Property Assets, described Mr Britch as “an exemplary leader, innovator and deliverer in the fields of public service delivery over the past 30 years”.
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He added: “His track record in Norfolk and across the country in helping others to work together better in the interests of different local communities has had a huge positive impact in good service design, value for money service delivery and effective partnership working between the public, private and voluntary sectors.
"He really helped lots of organisations around the country and his manner made him good with people.
“A much-liked and admired colleague, Mike will be very sadly missed by his many friends across the sectors and our thoughts now are with his wife Lorraine and daughter Sophie.”
Councillor Andrew Proctor, leader of NCC and friend to Mr Britch, said: “Much of what the Norse Group is today is built on the foundations [Mike] laid over his 20-plus years leading NPS and the Norse Group. I knew him well working on the development joint venture with Broadland Council when I was leader there.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with his family.”
Mike first hit the headlines back in 2019 when he underwent a life-saving brain operation, which risked erasing his most cherished memories.
At the time, he made a miraculous recovery after the tumour was extracted from the base of his brain, discovered after he suffered a series of seizures.
Surgeons at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge removed a "cake slice" from inside his skull after the extremely rare cancer was discovered in his hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
The six-hour procedure involved a large U-shaped incision in the scalp and a "plug" cut out of the skull to allow high-tech instruments access to the brain, guided with two MRI scanners to locate and extract the tumour.
Mr Britch's tumour was a type of cancer which usually only affects young children and is very rarely found in adults. Due to its extreme rarity, tissue samples were sent for analysis by researchers in the USA and across Europe.
An early biopsy taken showed the tumour to be slow-growing Stage 1 cancer but its dangerous position meant it could prompt more seizures so it had to be removed immediately.
His daughter Sophie said it was important to raise awareness of brain tumours, and the difficulty in diagnosing them.
Previously, she organised a charity sheepdog trial to raise money for the Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust. Now she has set up a Just Giving page to raise money for the charity Brain Tumour Research.
She said: “I have set up this fundraising page to raise funds in loving memory of my dad, Michael Britch.
“First diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2019, dad fought hard to beat his very aggressive brain cancer. Sadly he wasn't able to and he died at home.
“In place of flowers, we are asking for donations to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research, a charity fighting to increase the knowledge and understanding of brain tumours, find treatments and improve survival rates.”
He died on Tuesday, January 5, aged 62.