In memory

Remembering Damien

February 26th 1.30pm – live stream Damien’s funeral service here.

Damien’s energy, enthusiasm, creativity, his twinkling rebelliousness and his deeply caring nature are an entrenched inspiration to us all.

After battling fiercely and so courageously through the challenges of cancer for over 6 years, Damien left us. However, his memory lives on and the messages below are from people who have contacted us with their specific memories of him.

If you would like to make a donation to MacMillan Cancer Support in Damien’s memory, you can do so on this Just Giving page which has been created to raise vital funds for people who are affected by cancer.

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Damien King Lee – my thoughts.

Firstly, I wanted to send my condolences to Weronika, James and Josh, plus Damien’s Mum I can only imagine how tough it must have been for her not to be able to come to her son’s funeral.

So, I knew Damien as ‘boss’, but I was also honoured to have him as a friend, but its boss that he will remain to be for me.

We met just over four years ago.  I had gone to see what this new vending machine company was all about. After chatting with him for a few hours and without me realising, he had made me outline my thoughts and ideas on the solution he was building. I left the meeting thinking nice guy and expected nothing else. In what I soon learned to be Damien’s way, a few weeks later he called to ask me if I could meet him in London, no clues, or ideas why. I have often contemplated why I said yes to that meeting, but the answer is simple the pure magnetism and positivity of the man, made saying no impossible for me to do.

This started our journey together to build the Mr Lees range of kiosks and retail units. He was as many have commentated full of energy and enthusiasm, although he could easily change his thoughts and head one hundred and eighty degrees in the other direction if he felt it was worth doing so. Throughout all the many challenges, he was constant in his support in overcoming whatever held us back.

I would say my description of him would be immensely charming, inspirational, and positive, but often equally challenging, but never ever dull or boring! He wanted me to do all the detail so that we could realise his dreams and ideas, and I have been privileged to do so, and will continue to do so, now in his memory.

He leaves me with a host of happy thoughts too many to share, although one sticks in my mind. Whilst in America on a business trip in Dallas, we found ourselves with an afternoon free. We both immediately said we wanted to go to the Kennedy museum in Dealey Plaza. The difference for him was with his military background, he wanted to check the angle of the shot!! So, after the tour around the museum he stood in the middle of a three laned highway! I was fearful he would get runover, he just smiled and waited for a pause in the traffic….

I do look forward to seeing him again, as I am positive, he is there now with the gods convincing them that they should ditch Ambrosia and start eating congee. That is his version of course, out of this super new kiosk he has just re designed!

So, until then boss thanks for everything, as we both said in one of our last conversations, I love you man.

Martin Verspeak

I was saddened to hear of Damien’s passing. He was a lovely guy and a great friend who will be greatly missed but never forgotten.

I’ve only known Damien for a few years. We first met when he rocked up on his motorcycle with Harvey when I had Legacy85 shop over at Bournemouth Airport. We became friends straight away and have since enjoyed his company whenever he popped in during a ride out. His friendly enthusiasm and shared passion for entrepreneurship ended up with us selling Mr Lees Noodles in the shop, something we still do today albeit when we are allowed to open again.

Damien, you leave a huge hole in our lives but your legacy will live on forever in our thoughts and fond memories. Ride fast and high on those clouds. You are now free from that horrible disease cancer… it cannot weigh you down any longer.

Our sincerest condolences to your lovely boys, Weronika, family and many many friends.

Kindest regards

Mark Gordon @ LEGACY85

Hi,

I’m so sorry. I just wanted to write about Damien:

I am so sad to hear about Damien Lee’s passing.

I got to work with Damien and his brilliant team of chefs and creatives on their Noodle cookbook. When you combine all the little conversations, I probably only talked with Damien for a few hours and I never actually got to meet him face-to-face. But some people don’t need a lot of time to make an impression on you.

Damien had been living with cancer for years and this wasn’t his first terminal diagnosis. And yet, the first thing you noticed about him was his energy. So positive, so forward going. He wasn’t in denial, he was just, as he put it, ‘Too busy for cancer’.

I’ve met a few successful entrepreneurs in my time and they all share that ability to make big things happen by sheer vision, will and positivity. While the rest of us wind ourselves up with what might happen, Damien made it happen.

He was a busy dad and entrepreneur with cancer, he needed healthy, tasty food, fast. So he made that happen. He built Mr. Lee’s. The best kind of business. One with a big, simple aim – to make it easy for everyone to have healthy, tasty food.

As we all worked together on the book, Damien went out of his way to make me feel valued. When we spoke, he was focussed on me, my time and my contribution. That generosity of spirit is so rare.

I’ve learnt from Damien that the hand you’ve been dealt doesn’t have to define you. That your energy and approach to life outweigh everything else.

I’ve learnt from Damien that generosity, positivity and graciousness cost nothing and mean everything.

I’ve learnt from Damien that you can make it happen. Really. 

I only had around three hours of his time, but it was enough to inspire me to live better.

What a wonderful man. Rest in Peace Damien.

My deepest condolences to Weronika, James, Joshua and the whole Mr. Lee’s family.
Martin Flavin

Working with Damien and the Team at Mr Lee’s on the launch of the Noodle project was a highlight in my career. Damien extended the relationship beyond that of Customer/Supplier to one of friendship which will remain forever in my memories. A man with a big heart and open to sharing to all. Damien inspired many venturing into starting up their own businesses which will be a legacy to his life. It was a privilege for me to have known Damien. Chris Fuller, Alexir Partnership.

It was August 2016.

I’d known Damien for a year or so. We’d spoken previously when Mr Lee’s Noodles were little more than an idea. There was no branding. No vending machines. You couldn’t buy them, but he had a vision and he talked excitedly about it. We bonded over a love of noodle cups, but we were business acquaintances. Until August 2016.

I was at my lowest ebb. Beset by person problems I was unhappy and barely able to see the wood for the trees. I bumped into Damien in Westbourne and saw something wasn’t right. We didn’t know each other that well but he reached out and took me under his wing. He invited me out. Every bone in my body said no. I wasn’t good company. I wanted to stay on my own. But Damien wouldn’t take no for an answer. Not in a forceful way. In the way a true friend sees beyond your words.

The next night he welcomed me into his home. He showed me love and warmth and no judgement. It was what I needed and I turned a corner that night, thanks to him.

We didn’t talk often, but we did talk. And I’ll never forget his kindness, his energy and his enthusiasm for life.

I learnt a lot from Damien and I hope he knew it.

I’m sad he’s no longer around.
Matt Desmier

My wife and I were flying when we tried Mr Lee noodles. It was genuinely the first time we have ate nourishing food on a flight. I ended up keeping the lid and looking up the company. It was then we found Damien and read his story. The kind smile who filled our bellies with healthy and thrilling flavours on our travels. We thank you and your family. It’s with joy we found Mr Lee and with sadness we acknowledge his passing. He lives on in our lives through your brand.

All our love. You’ll never walk alone.

Christian and Iryna

Damien was an Inspiration to me. I had the privilege to work with him at Search Partners and realised he was a trailblazer. I will never forget the motivation and positive attitude he would shower his team with every single day.

We remained friends to this day and was so happy to have gone and visit to Bournemouth back in November 2019.

Even my 13 year old got inspired by Damien.

May you rest in peace  Damien. You will stay in our hearts forever 🙏🏻❤️🌟

Maeva and Leo

My deepest condolences for Mr. Damien Lee, you were the true definition of entrepreneur, full of energy and creativity; and an inspiration to all of us. You will be severely missed. My thoughts and Prayers to his family and friends.

Rebeca Fernandez

Anyone who met Damien will know what an incredible person he was, truly inspirational and so positive and upbeat.

Damien was a passionate supporter of BU and our enterprise activities, participating in student pitch events, student projects, guest speaker slots, mock assessment centres and much more.

Damien will be missed terribly by all of us who knew him, but we will be comforted a little in knowing how incredibly privileged we were to have met him.

My prayers and heartfelt condolences to Weronika and the boys at this sad time. My thoughts are with you all.

Mark Painter

I had the absolute pleasure of hearing Damiens story over coffee

To see him go and achieve so much

Inspire so many people

This hero has created a legacy

I truly hope that the business continues to grow and grow and the business flourishes to truly reflect the efforts that this man and his supporters set out to achieve

Rest in peace Damien and much love to your family, friends and team

Danny Jones  |  Area Manager Business Banking |  Barclays UK

I will always remember just how humble Damien really was. He was the type of CEO who would take the time to ask an intern for their input and attentively listen as though you were his equal. Just crossing paths with Damien Lee, even before his battle with cancer, was enough to inspire you to believe in your own potential, that is what I’m most grateful for.

 

Thank you for the Memoriam,
Zach McCarthy

I didn’t know Damien, I never met him, but I watched the swap house program on tv, he came across like such a genuine, kind hearted caring person that really wanted to make a difference in life. I’m so so sorry for your loss. May Damien rest in peace. 🙏🏽
K Patel

My husband and I watched a tv program with Damien, where he and his family did a house swap with a less fortunate family. He struck us as such a genuine, kind hearted person. Very sorry to hear of his untimely passing. We wish his family,  love, strength and courage at this sad time. Certainly wish there were more people like Damien in this world.

The Stearn family

Damien, my friend….what to say…this picture of Weronika and you was taken at my wedding 16 months ago during which you did a lovely speech…and yesterday you left us after a long battle with that horrible cancer…You will remain an inspiration, a dear friend, a great boss and an unforgettable gentleman. Bless your sons, your lovely wife, your mum, all your friends and your soul…I miss you sorely already…..and as you say “Fuckcancer” 🙏🏻
Sandrine Rayee

I am so sorry to hear that Damien has lost the battle with cancer. I lost my husband to cancer just 2 weeks ago. He too put up a very brave fight till his very last breath. My deepest condolences to his family. ❤️
Kuy Theng

Dear Mr. Lee’s Team,

I am very sorry to learn of the recent passing of Mr. Damien Lee, and wish to express my condolences to his family and friends. I have had the great honor of working with Mr. Lee’s product development team over the past year to provide the best quality ingredients and will continue to do so in any way that I can.
Andy Chih

I met Damien at an event at Bournemouth University and he was so funny.

Giving his advice and support to students and immediately inspiring

people to run their business with passion and authenticity.   I

interviewed him for my event ‘Creative Ideas 2020’ and he generously

gave his time and expertise to share with others.   He will be missed.
Bev Hepting

I’m so so so sorry to hear the news, what a guy, a true fighter in all senses. He had the glint in his eye 24/7. I’m not sure if it was the cancer that gave him the glint and drive that every day is worth living or whether it was always in his genes but my goodness, he shone bright. Everyone I spoke to spoke very highly of Damien. A great dude. I popped it up on Twitter about a memory I had of him which was when he bought myself and some of my crew a round of cocktails at Ojo Rojo in Bournemouth one night, just to purely say hi. What a true gent. Please do continue his awesome legacy. We will be buying today online and enjoying on the cliff top at southbourne in memory of the man himself.

Biggest love from all at Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. Xxxx

Jim Cregan, Co-Founder, Jimmy’s Iced Coffee

Napoleon Hill once spoke of surrounding yourself with likeminded individuals by creating a roundtable of invisible mentors. After stumbling upon Damien swapping homes with a less fortunate family I knew his soul was kind. I then learnt about Damiens health and his sheer determination to overcome life’s hurdles which he did with energy that couldn’t go unnoticed. I knew I could learn a lot.

As an aspiring entrepreneur myself I knew I had to surround myself with individuals who had traits of which I wished to learn and so I used Mr Hills method. Damien unknowingly sat at the head of my table and taught me strength, determination, and most of all to approach any situation with enthusiasm. Although we never met, Damien will continue to mentor me in my journey to becoming a better person and a successful entrepreneur.

Peace and love to Damiens family and close friends.
J.Drumm

I feel very privileged to have been able to call Damien a friend. He was always so full of fun and enthusiasm, and it was very clear to everybody who met him, how much he loved life. 

 One of the things Damien was really great at was connecting people – he surrounded himself with creatives, and would always hook his friends up with like-minded people, so they could hang and or bounce ideas off each other – A lot of awesome new friendships are thanks to Damien. 

 As well as being a lovely person, he also had great taste in motorbikes!! One of my favourite memories with him, was when he suggested a ride out to Cornwall….a group of us made it as far as Shaftesbury, got caught in torrential rain, and ended up spending far too long huddled in the doorway of Greggs bakery, freezing our asses off, while he supplied the bacon sandwiches.

 Despite what he was going through, he always and a twinkle in his eye, and a smile on his face, and I will miss him massively. 

Thanks for the all the ride outs and hot chocolates Damien, you were a rare one!. xx

I’ve attached couple of photos you might like. One is the two of us on some Indians he managed to blag for the day from Moorspeed, and the other is with my sister Lucy, who was also going through cancer last year. They were both trying to get the same treatment, and he was a huge support to her, helping her through some very hard times, especially when she was on chemo. We will both be forever grateful for his help during those days.
Anna Collins

Hi,

I just want to share my experience of knowing Damien from when he used to come into my restaurant Da Mario when we first opened back in 2008 and continues to be one of our biggest fans.

He would always have the biggest smile and humble attitude.

We met with him late last year and even though he was not 100% he still had that same smile and attitude. We were not supposed to hug because of Coronavirus but thankfully he gave me a huge embrace, one that I will never forget and I feel so lucky to have had.

God bless you Damien. ❤️
Ponti

Damien was a kind and gentle friend to me . Over the years we stayed in touch through the loss of friends and supporting one another from afar . When I would check in and cheer him on for the next treatment , always a quick answer all would be well . Godspeed xo Monz
Monika Zettner

I only met Damien just over a year ago. We were introduced by my sister who knew him through their mutual love of motorbikes.

She told him that I was also going through cancer treatment so he reached out and we met for a coffee and a chat.

From then on, Damien became a great support to me and an even greater friend.

Even though he was so busy taking over the world with Mr Lee’s Noodles, his pod cast and everything else he had going on, he was always on the end of the phone or free for a coffee (or Kombucha in his case!) and a bit of moral support.

I can’t put into words what an enormous impact his positive energy, courage and kind words had on me during the most difficult time of my life and for that, I am forever grateful. His infectious enthusiasm for life rubbed off on everyone he met.

I’ve got many fond memories of time spent with Damien and am so thankful to have had him in my life, if only for a while. Shine bright Damien. I’ll miss you. Lucy.x
Lucy Collins

I remember listening to David being interviewed on Small Business Big Marketing a few years ago and being so impressed by his drive, creativity and tenacity.  I also had no idea that many noodles on the market are not real food! We then started buying Mr Lee Noodles and are so saddened to hear of Damien’s passing.

Sending our sincere condolences to his family and team.
Nicole Ashby

I am so sorry to hear the such sad news of Damien passing

Watching him from a far his strength and drive inspired me to never give up and I’m truly thankful for the inspiring messages I received from Damien via Twitter , that gave me the strength to achieve what I wanted to , what an inspirational  man he was

My sincere heart felt condolences to you all , his friends family and colleagues.
Michael Probert

Dear Damien,

I never met you but felt I knew you through the media. And how people spoke with such warmth above you, speaks volume tome about the kind of man you are.

I Loved your outlook on life on the tv series, Rich People, Poor People.

You were kind, not many people are. 

I am sorry to hear of your passing today. Know this, on the day you passed so did Cicely Tyson. Look out for her wherever you guys are headed, she was just wonderful and inspirational, just like You!

 I acknowledge You,

 “You were here

You have lived

You were loved

You are missed”

Sleep well.

Much love to your family.
Adebisi Bordley

I was Damien’s neighbour in Bournemouth before he was first diagnosed with cancer. As we all know, at that time he was given a short space to live.  I did in my own way to utilise the facility of positive spiritual energy, and with his determination, the first saga was a success.

 We both moved away in different directions, but kept a skeleton contact.  I so wanted Damien to continue with the spiritual healing.  He said each time we contacted one another that we would get together, but due to his continuous busy schedules, to avail it didn’t happen.

 

I like many, loved Damien, and saw him as a great spiritual master, lost in the physical domain, but I believe in all honesty, he was trying to create security for his children and others.

 I believe now he will carry on his mastery in the spiritual realm – for truly he is a unique soul and encompassed many hurdles, and succeeded on all levels of consciousness.
Philip Luxembourg

Such sad news to wake up and read that you have passed.

I originally got in contact with you after being emotionally touched by you on the TV. How someone so successful and going through so much, could be so humble and selfless. We had a good chat via social media and had planned to meet when this virus passed, unfortunately we never got the chance, but I appreciate our chats.

 Thoughts are with your lovely family.

 Rest easy and ride high

 Love Griff x
Graham Griffiths

Oh this is a heartbreaking news. I had the privilege of collaborating with Damien through our student enterprise module and his bright smile is etched in my memory forever.

Last year, in Jan 2020, in between treatment sessions, he not only turned up at Entrepreneurship Elevator Pitch day to say hello but stayed the entire day and brought boxes and boxes of Mr. Lees Noodles for all our students and colleagues. I had the good fortune of speaking to him, for the last time, this summer during lockdown and his indomitable spirit shone through the very difficult times he was going through. Never once have I not seen this gentleman smile and speak of the future ahead.

I am enriched by my interactions with him. My condolences to his family. May his beautiful soul forever rest in peace.

In sadness,

Sukanya

Dr Sukanya Ayatakshi-Endow

I watched Damien on Rich House, Poor House & it was very quickly apparent what a kind, caring, genuine & inspirational man he was. I also followed Damien on Twitter & Instagram. His journey was such a tough one but he seemed to just always be upbeat & positive & so caring towards others & their needs. His posts were always positive & upbeat.

I felt so sad reading of his passing, the world was certainly a better place with people like Damien in it.  I will hold him & his family in my thoughts & prayers.

Fly high with the Angels Damien, I am sure you will shine bright like the star you are.

Much love
Donna Williams x

Dear Damien,

Thank you for being such an inspiration. You were an amazing talent and have left this world too early.

Rest in Peace Damien

Regards,
Isabelle Bayoya

Damien you were a beacon of all that is good in the world 🌎 you were kind, empathetic and proactive and this world is a lesser place without you

RIP Damien you fought your battle with extreme courage and you will never be forgotten. So very sad 😢

Genuinely so sad I know that Damien will have fought his last battle with the same courage and tenacity that he lived his life by.
Gail Ranford

I was the chairman of Food Innovate Summit in Amsterdam in the spring of 2018 and found myself on stage with him (introduced him as a speaker, and was the speaker after him).

I was so impressed with his professional courage and charisma as well as his humbleness when, during Q&A, informed the audience that cancer had come back and attached his throat… hence he couldn’t taste anything but remained positive he would be fully back on his feet soon.

I concluded his speech joking about how sorry I was about the next speaker (myself), as he didn’t stand a chance to match his quality and depth.
Matteo Gori

I thought I might write and to give some of my memories of Damien, whilst he was having treatment.

He was a super cool guy- he drove to see us in his motorcycle and wore sunglasses (inside) the hospital. He was friendly, easy going and a pleasure to look after.

He was also so interesting to speak to, about his life, what he’d been through and his passion for his business- it was all undeniably true and genuine.

His incredible fighting spirit can’t go unmentioned and needless to say, he’s been a wonderful inspiration to us all.

He also had such a generous nature – evident the day he caused chaos at the hospital, by sending thousands and thousands of noodles to us. The charity barely had places to sit down, because the noodle cups were stocked floor to ceiling. I was so proud that he was my patient, as I gave out noodles to my envious colleagues, because no other donation has or ever, will be compared.

I know he was strongly supported by his wife throughout and the fact that he was dearly loved and cared for, was evidence that he was an awesome guy.

May the good memories bring his loving family some comfort, he will be dearly missed and remembered.
Thuy

Damien,

You are one of the most inspirational leaders I’ve ever met. I very much respect and admire how you fight against cancer and how you set up Mr Lee’s wholeheartedly. I’m sure your courageous and passionate life has touched many people’s lives, and I’m one of them. It’s such a privilege for me to know you and work with you in the Knowledge Transfer Programme we initiated two years ago. Your positiveness also gives me the energy and courage to fight against any challenges I am facing in my life. Thank you for your lively and heartwarming spirit that will remain in my heart whenever I think about you. May you rest in grace and love. Peace be with your family and friends.

Nicole

Dr Ni Yang (Nicole)

I was lucky enough to meet Damien at an early stage in the roll out of Mr Lee’s Noodles; transitioning into Mr Lee’s Pure Foods.  I became the bank manager for the business, signing paper work over a cup of coffee in Café Nero in Bournemouth.  If I’m honest based on what I was told by Damien at the time – I wondered if this was another person with a great plan that may or may not come to anything – I’m delighted to say I was proved more than wrong and very quickly!

The energy, enthusiasm, determination and message of hope Damien carried with him was truly what saw him succeed and the business spark into life.  So impressive was Damien’s story that we played one of his Youtube videos at a national conference a few years back  – this was a truly inspiring and motivating story and a great way for us to launch a new business division at the time.

My dealings with Damien were fundamentally within a professional banking context – but I was personally impacted by the warmth, drive and success I saw before me.  I meet lots of business owners in my job, Damien will always be a businessman and entrepreneur that I will remember above all of them.

My deepest condolences.

Matthew Coates

Hi,

Some thoughts on Damien from me for the wall.

The first time I met Damien was after I approached Mr Lee’s directly for some consulting work, just as I had left the safety of employment and was striking out on my own. He had such a positive and engaging character it was impossible not to like him instantly, his personal story and resilience struck a chord with me, and he offered me work for Mr Lee’s right when I needed it most, I’ll always be incredibly grateful to him for that. In the 18mths that followed we had a lot of laughs, some really deep and interesting conversations, and a fair few disagreements! He often called me the ‘Ying’ to his ‘Yang’ (amongst other more colourful things that can’t be written here 😊), recognising that although we had shared goals and passions, we approached things in very different ways, but in the end we both needed each other. He drove us forward in the right direction, I did my best to arrange the pieces to make it happen. He had such a strong vision for where he wanted the business to go, and the type of people and culture he wanted. He was a true entrepreneur, and we shared a rebellious spirit and refusal to conform that sometimes put us on opposite sides, but often resulted in great moments of kinship.

His life, energy, sense of humour and passion will be sorely missed in the world. My heart is with his friends, family and the boys most of all. I hope as they grow-up they’ll remember their Dad as a true one-of-a-kind who inspired a lot of people and created a really positive and lasting legacy.

Kind Regards
Chris Braitch

Currently reflecting on all you have achieved, those you have mentored and bought together in friendship and business, bringing up two wonderfully kind, young gentlemen – James and Joshua, a son to Kristina, and being a true friend to me from day dot.

Damien welcomed me to the UK within my first week of arriving here in 2014. Coffee in Knightsbridge, right after he finished up a meeting and before he had to head back to Bournemouth. I was introduced to Damien through his mother, Kristina, who has been a dear family friend for many years back home in Melbourne, Australia.

The friendship, support and encouragement Damien gave was always unwavering. We always had a laugh together and an adventure here and there. Day trips down the coast to Corfe Castle, Durdle Door or Lulworth Cove will be fondly remembered, or the trip to Ikea Southampton and you racing around down the aisles a trolleys… you definitely had ‘the need for speed’ pulsating through those veins – Indian Scout Bobber Twenty or IKEA shopping trolley = same same, no difference to you hahahah. Or the crazy fun at your 60’s themed 50th birthday party a few years back – what a night! Memories like these will last a life time and the photos will bring smiles to the faces of all in them with you.

 

Your light and courage will always continue. You have given hope to every single person who has met you either in person, or through your story shared on different mediums. Your legacy will continue and you will always shine brightly in the hearts you touched and the memories created.

You made life beautiful and you will be forever missed. Farewell my friend 💔🕊

Enjoy the Eternal sunshine on your face and the wind through your hair on your Motorcycle ride over the rainbow 🏍
Ramona Pusch

Damien had such range and ambitions.  He was colourful and wore it on his sleeve, literally. His external self – evident to the world – was one of an energetic entrepreneur, full of life, pedal to the metal, trusting, optimistic.  Internally, he seemed to have that steely resolve one rarely finds. I suppose I wasn’t surprised to learn that he had served in the Aussie Special Forces and had been a properly toughened soldier, inured to pain and suffering.  Despite his diagnoses – plural – it never dawned on me that someone like him would leave this world so early.  It always seemed as if he would pull it off, once more, in his own spirited, special, unmistakable way.  He was both the life of the party and, in many cases, the party itself.  He was always kind, ready with a smile or joke, and thirsty for life.  I didn’t believe it when I was told he had left us.  I couldn’t imagine that we would see a time when the company would be without him, and the virtual walls within which we work without the echo of his laughter.
Ken Mark