Wirral entrepreneur Drew Cockton dies aged 36

Wirral entrepreneur Drew Cockton, owner of successful home fragrance brand, Owen Drew and founder of the North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards, has died aged just 36. Tony McDonough reports

Drew Cockton
Drew Cockton, founder of fragrance brand Owen Drew, has died aged 36


Well known Merseyside entrepreneur and founder of the North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards, Drew Cockton, has died aged just 36.

Drew died at home in Wirral less than 24 hours after the second LGBTQ+ Business Awards were held in front of hundreds of guests at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool. He was the founder of the successful and award-winning home fragrance brand, Owen Drew

His death has shocked people across the Merseyside business community in which he was a much-loved and admired figure. Earlier this year he appeared on the BBC TV show Dragons’ Den. He secured a £50,000 investment from ‘Dragon’ Toulker Suleyman.

In a Facebook post on Sunday morning his mum Kate Drew said: “We are truly, utterly heartbroken to have to tell you that our beloved Drew Peter George Cockton (my gorgeous boy) died peacefully at home yesterday.

“We are devastated beyond belief. Life is never going to be the same again. Rest peacefully darling boy.”

On Friday Liverpool businessman Paul Kallee-Grover, picked up an award at the ceremony on behalf of his business Ki Partnerships.

He tweeted on Sunday: “It’s with a heavy heart that we’ve learned of the passing of the truly inspiring and wonderful Drew Cockton shortly after Friday’s amazing awards at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool. Thoughts and prayers are with Drew’s family and friends at this time.”

Toulker Suleyman said he was “devastated” by Drew’s death. He added that Drew was a “young man with drive, passion, business acumen, with plenty of energy”.

Posting on Facebook, Drew’s partner Ryan Gunn said: “It is with the heaviest heart to say that I lost the love of my life yesterday. Drew was the funniest, kindest and loveable man I have ever come across.

“Words cannot describe the level of hurt I am currently feeling. Life will never be the same without you in it. I have loved every second with you and I was looking forward to spending the rest of my life with you.
”I will never ever get over this babe. I miss you so much already.”

Born and brought up in Wirral, Drew attended secondary school at St Anselm’s College in Prenton. In 2016 he launched his Owen Drew business venture. The brand offers scented candles, luxury soaps, perfumes, bath oils and other home fragrance and bath and body products.

The idea for the business came when Drew noticed how mass produced-candles could damage walls and furniture in the home as they burned. He explained: “I did some research and discovered that it was because mass-produced candles are made from petroleum-based paraffin wax.”

He began making his own candles, sourcing vegan soy wax and blending it with essential oils to produce his own fragranced candles. Drew began selling to friends and family and then at craft fairs. He was approached by retailers and beauty salons and the business really took off.

Drew launched a website and was soon selling his products as far afield as Australia and the United Arab Emirates and customers have included Paris Hilton. They have been stocked in almost 40 outlets across the UK.

In 2020, during the pandemic, Drew invested £500,000 to convert a Victorian House close to Claughton Village in Wirral. He intended to launch it as a venue for events such as weddings. He said he loved its “Victorian bourgeois extravagance”.

In March 2021, Drew announced he was launching the North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards. He wanted to recognise the huge contribution the LGBTQ+ community makes to the regional economy. 


Drew Cockton
Drew Cockton at the North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards in 2021
Drew Cockton
Drew Cockton appearing on BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den earlier this year


He told LBN: “The LGBTQ+ community contributes enormously to the GDP of the UK thanks to the creativity, ingenuity and resilience of its members. After such an incredibly difficult 12 months in business, I decided to create these awards to celebrate the achievements of our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.”

People and businesses clamoured to support the event and Drew secured Liverpool Football Club as a main sponsor. More than 350 people attended the first awards ceremony at Thornton Hall Hotel & Spa. There were 14 awards handed out and the event raised money for the Albert Kennedy Trust.

Speaking afterwards, Drew described the atmosphere on the night as being “electric”, with attendees up on the dancefloor before the starters had been cleared. He added: “Everyone was in such a great mood; the room was filled with love and positivity. People have been telling me they have never ever been to an event like it.”

Such was the success of the awards they returned again this year, offering accolades in 10 categories. This year Drew secured sponsors including Everton Football Club, MSB Solicitors and Growth Platform.

Speaking in 2021, Drew explained his motivation for setting up the awards. He said: “I spent the first half of my career pretending to be someone else because of the casual homophobia which existed in society at the time.

“Thankfully, moments like the LGBTQ+ Business Awards send a firm signal that discrimination is not acceptable and that for the health and prosperity of our nation, prejudices must be challenged and fought.”

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