Saturday, 19 September 2009
RIP Brian, my friend
Becoming a volunteer for MIND Cymru a year and a half ago was one of the best things to have happened to me. It cannot, of course top becoming a dad and marrying Tracy, but with all the things that have happened to us as a family these last 4 years, going there every Monday and Wednesday gave me a different perspective of life. I thought I was having a shitty time, it was nothing compared to the souls who were turning up there every day. To be able to be there for those who asked me for help has been the most rewarding thing ever. As with all volunteers I have favourites, people who regard me as friend as well as helper, and with whom I enjoy their company. Some of the people I have met at MIND Cymru have turned out to be some of the most honest and reliable friends I have made. One of them was Brian Williams who I learned today had died last month. I first knew Brian as a fellow trainee volunteer and we spent every Monday morning learning the in and outs of being a volunteer at MIND Cymru for about 6 weeks. He struck me as an intelligent, articulate and resourceful fellow who I quickly respected especially considering that he had suffered a serious mental health issue for many years. He had been running the Walking group at MIND for a long time and had even been invited, earlier this year to present his achievements to the MIND annual conference in Birmingham, and was praised for developing his media projects by many of the MIND ‘bigwigs’ there. The last time I saw him we were discussing plans of working together in forming a photography group (another passion of Brian’s) to show other MIND Cymru members how they could improve their digital photos by using computer software. He had a progressive mind and was always coming up with great ideas on how to generate the members’ interests in order to improve their quality of life. He was a firm believer in that. Taking up hobbies is probably what helped him and he wanted others to follow that path for betterment. In fact he was signed up to do a Digital Photography course with Llandrillo College this month, which I was keen to do but decided not to pursue because of other commitments. It’s been a while since I last saw him because back in July he had not turned up to the drop-in centre in Llandudno for some time and I thought then that this was strange. A while before this time Brian had confided in me privately that he had been having a bad time, but he soon picked himself up. Anyway, I decided to take a couple of weeks off thinking I was going down to Ipswich with the family to see Tracy’s folks when my dad took ill and went to hospital and subsequently passed away a week later. So I haven’t set foot in MIND since the second week in August, and it was a considerable shock to me to hear the sad news from Ray this morning. He will be sadly and massively missed at MIND and I will miss the chats and the hope that he emanated from our discussions.