Tribute to Andy Thomas, Founder of FMM

Sadly the founder of the Full Movement Method passed away on March 6th 2011.

Therapist Andy Thomas loved the natural world, was passionate about spiritual development, dedicated to healing, flexible in body and mind, and described by many of his friends and acquaintances as ‘inspirational’.

Now, following his death at 65, he has inspired his family and friends to set up the Andy Thomas Foundation to help support the concerns that he so fervently believed in.

The foundation will continue the charity work that Andy was committed to and will support a range of local good causes that are sympathetic to his twin loves of environmental planting and the development of children and teenagers.

“Aside from his family, his great loves were sustainable living and spiritual development in terms of yoga and healing,” said Liz Thomas, his wife of 26 years.

“He was very much into treading gently on the earth. The word that keeps coming up as people describe Andy is ‘inspirational’ and he has inspired us to create a foundation that will go on supporting the causes that meant the most to him.

“He was a very special person and will be sorely missed by many people.”

Born in 1945 in Withernsea, the first child of a military family, Andy spent much of his childhood travelling around Europe as a result of his father’s postings. He enjoyed an adventurous childhood with younger brother Peter, who now lives in Scotland with Carole and children Suzie and Scott and grandchildren. He returned to England at 15 and became an apprentice engineer with Rolls-Royce in Derby. During the late 1970s/early 1980s he and his first wife Diana took on a franchise of the Body Shop in Derby, and then opened two in Nottingham, one of which, in Bridlesmith Gate, remains today. They also ran a health food shop, the Good Life, in Derby.

His other passions during that period were for fast cars. He enjoyed the thrill of racing at Silverstone and Brands Hatch, and loved the life that went with it.

It was at this time that Andy became interested in alternative health and therapy. Aware that he was a ‘hands on’ person, he trained to be an osteopath and massage therapist. He began practising as a therapist in 1985 from his West Bridgford home. With a growing interest in alternative methods of treatment, Andy then explored therapies used in China, Russia and America, and gradually developed his own way of working, which he termed the Full Movement Method.

He used this as a unique way of resolving muscle and joint pains, immobility and malfunction, and successfully treated thousands of people in Nottinghamshire and beyond over many years to help relieve their pain. Among his patients were international sportsmen and women, actors and dancers. FMM was also central to the yoga that Andy both practised and taught at the Shanti Yoga School he launched. He shared the FMM with dozens of fellow therapists and yoga teachers, who have gone on to practise the therapy themselves, including groups in Holland and Eire. Among those is his daughter-in-law Elan, who hopes to continue Andy’s work with FMM.

Andy wrote four books on yoga, the proceeds of which helped to raise money for abandoned and orphaned children at the Calvary Zion Children’s Home in Mombasa, Kenya. His family estimate that between £2,500 and £3,000 has been raised for the home thanks to his benevolence. His most recent book, Yoga. How and Why it Works, is a detailed examination of the reason for the effectiveness of yoga as a system of physical, mental and spiritual cultivation, and is aimed at the serious yoga practitioner.

As well as practising yoga and tai chi daily, Andy also played his guitar every day and was a particular fan of classical and flamenco music. He enjoyed spending time in Spain, where the family had a home, and embraced the local community. One of his greatest loves was sustainable living and growing, and he was involved in a project to create a community orchard at Car Colston, near Bingham, where more than 100 new fruit trees have now been planted. With his typical enthusiasm, Andy researched appropriate traditional varieties to plant and had exciting visions for the orchard’s future.

A committed family man who was a hands-on dad and grandfather, and who enjoyed sharing all sorts of activities from skiing to sailing with the younger generation, he supported and gave generously to Greenpeace, ActionAid, Amnesty International, The Soil Association and a number of other charities and causes. He was a key member of the Tuesday Hearts – a Nottingham group of entrepreneurial people with innovative ideas – and enjoyed mentoring.

Andy died suddenly but peacefully on March 6th after a short battle with lung cancer, having sought an alternative approach to treatment in keeping with his beliefs.

He leaves wife Liz, son James, 42, and daughter-in-law Elan, 40, daughters Eleanor, 39, and Hannah, 20, son Sam, 18, and grandchildren India and Grace, both 13, and Molly, nine, and Healey, five.