When I joined Home Start Hillingdon early last year, it was mainly from the perspective of having something nearby so that I can do something for the local community. As well as that, the idea that the charity is a bit public funded, quite a bit foundation and private funded, we have 40-50 volunteers and we touch up to 100 families every year is very good. When I joined, the charity was in deep financial trouble and if we didn't sort it out, the charity would have closed. This was just 1 month after I joined. Plus then we lost almost 60% of our trustees for a variety of reasons and we ended up with just two trustees, John and I. John was previously the treasurer and then he became the chair. I couldn't do it, I am already stretched with the other charities that I am involved in and refused to become the chair.
John worked his butt off to ensure we have a good financial foundation, he drove us getting good funding from the council and made the business case and ensured we are now in a sustainable element. We spoke to so many people, got stakeholders to buy in and we were successful. This was when John was unwell and he was in hospital pretty much the last quarter of last year. Very brave of him.
And then came the shocker in December, he resigned saying that he has to go back to hospital and then early this week, I heard the shocking news that he had passed on. I was seriously shocked, he was very healthy, about 38 years of age, a practising lawyer and he was finishing his MBA, writing his dissertation, very sporty and eating good food. He apparently had skin cancer and it became virulent and just in a matter of weeks he died.
We had a board meeting last week and I spoke about all what he had done for the charity. Frog in the throat time. Really feel bad about his loss. But this is the amazing thing about people like John. They get about their jobs and do so much for the community, over and above what one would have expected. They do not get recognition, they do not get the kudo’s, they are not publicly welcomed or congratulated, but they spend hours on doing things that help others, they are passionate about the downtrodden, the sick, the disabled, the ill, the poor, the mentally disturbed of the society. That’s the power of this society, how people quietly go about helping others, without expecting any return.
But I felt I had to write about these quiet people today. My father is another one of this kind of people, I have been speaking to him frequently these couple of weeks ever since my aunt died, of cancer as well. He was sobbing on the phone, poor chap. He was very close to her. She was also one of those quiet helpful kinds. And she used to make some brilliant dishes. Its not a good feeling to hear your father cry but such is life. So this week has been a very difficult one indeed.
So here’s to you, John Butler, I am sure you will be recognised in heaven for all the wonderful work you have done on earth. Thank you for all your help and all the families in Hillingdon who have been helped and will be helped more in the coming years will be cognisant of your brilliant work for the charity.
Rest in Peace.