My Dedication written for Ian's funeral on 5 February 2018
I do not use the word ‘friend’ lightly, as in 52 years I have come to realise just how hard true friends are to find.
I have known Ian since 2013 and shared the part of his life, he selflessly dedicated to Your Voice Matters, a campaign I began in 2010, exposing poor elderly care and lobbying for improvements in the sector. We worked many hours voluntarily, sharing a mutual passion and drive for change.
Our work ‘meetings’ often happened in the middle of the night, when Ian returned home from a music gig. We only met twice, but it felt like I had known him for years.
Many of you may not know very much about this area of Ian’s life, and I wanted to share with you how hard he worked for the cause, and what a difference he made to me, and those who came to us for help.
We complimented each other perfectly. Ian was a first class researcher, and dealt with the majority of enquiries for help. At the time of Ian’s passing we had over 3,000 followers, and I can remember him messaging me. He was so happy and we both felt so very proud of how far we had come. Ian had a particular interest in the overuse of medications for the elderly, human rights of care home residents and their families, funding and quality of care.
We both understood the deep layers of corruption protecting the sector. We saw what many fail to see or understand. Ian enjoyed digging around on the internet, spending hours researching the care home owners and companies, looking at their career histories and finances. Patterns emerged and Ian’s research was invaluable, and still is.
In 2016 after our Panorama expose on Cornwall that took 8 years of work to achieve, Ian wrote to me … “This is a peak. A period of transformative change or destruction. Very much like the aftermath of Winterbourne. It will settle down again. Try to do a little bit less. Let others and events do it. We lit the fire and we spread it. This is the tipping point. We have changed it. We have created a sense of fear of uncertainty in providers. Amazing what YVMs has achieved. No campaign group has written like we have. People notice. Those important notice.”
We often laughed with each other, saying it felt like we were running a national newspaper, Citizens Advice, Samaritans, and undercover detective agency all at the same time! Ian loved the buzz of it all, and like myself, he was hungry for justice and accountability for all failed by the system.
In March 2015 Your Voice Matters was invited to Parliament and a whole new chapter began. We were both excited at this opportunity, and Ian jokingly compared it to a Game of Thrones. In January last year, I attended Parliament to hold our first event. The outcome of this finally made me realise, we were powerless to influence. We needed to reassess.
The workload was now unmanageable, my health had suffered over 8 years, and I decided it was time for me to focus on my own healing and rebuilding my life. Ian fully supported me in that decision, saying he was happy to take over the running of Your Voice Matters. For the last 6 months he encouraged me to focus on my new pathway, reassuring me the campaign was in his safe hands. Now he has gone.
Ian was always there for me and helped me through some difficult times when others launched public personal attacks online. These times impacted greatly on me and my family. He despaired at them all, but never got drawn into it. His focus always remained on the vulnerable people who needed us to be their voice, and supporting me through those difficult times. Ian became like a father figure to me. He was always so wise and I valued his guidance and honesty.
I know how much Ian valued his friends and he would often talk to me excitedly about his music nights, and he was looking forward to me travelling up to meet them this summer.
He would tell me about his fell walking, and on one occasion he messaged me to say he had been climbing in the Lake District, covering 6 miles and 4 mountains in 4½ hours. He would laugh at me, as I always worried when he went walking, insisting he must ring me once he was home! He said it reminded him of his Mum.
I am so sorry I could not be there today, but however I tried to find a way to travel from Devon, obstacles presented themselves. Ian knew how much I struggle with Goodbyes, as he supported me through various losses over the last few years, so maybe it was simply not meant to be.
I hope you heard my last words to you shortly before your physical body left us. The hardest telephone conversation I have ever had, and you know how much I like to talk!
I miss your physical presence.I miss our middle of the night catch ups.
I miss our deep conversations about life.
I miss being able to call you with the latest care scandal or personal news.
I miss your words of encouragement and belief in me.
I miss YOU. What a journey we have shared, but it is not over.
I hope you will return to be by my side in my healing work. Your wisdom, insight and guidance continuing to help me. We still have much work to do my dear friend, it is just different work. But for now, it is time to rest. See you when you are ready and thank you for being a part of my life, then, now and in the future.
Love Jenny x
A poem by Written by Rev. Safire Rose
She Let Go
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgements. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.
She didn’t analyse whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.
Video Dedication to Ian click on link below (9 minutes):