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Messages from the Rest of World

  • Dear Friends/Family, I would like to share a contribution page with you which has been created in the $bookTitle$ book. To view the page please click on the following link: $findContributionLink$ Online Book for Brother James Kimpton https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/Kimpton/Contributions/Find/RestofWorld0/ianbradyformervolunteerin1981andchairofrtuintheuk1
    https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/Kimpton/Contributions/Find/RestofWorld0/ianbradyformervolunteerin1981andchairofrtuintheuk1

    Ian Brady, former volunteer in 1981 and Chair of RTU in the UK

    UK | 1 Nov 2017

     

    Photos of recent visits to RTU and also in the early 80s when I was a volunteer when Brother was at Boys' Village

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Messages from the Rest of World

  • Dear Friends/Family, I would like to share a contribution page with you which has been created in the $bookTitle$ book. To view the page please click on the following link: $findContributionLink$ Online Book for Brother James Kimpton https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/Kimpton/Contributions/Find/RestofWorld0/suedaviesncassidy2
    https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/Kimpton/Contributions/Find/RestofWorld0/suedaviesncassidy2

    Sue Davies né Cassidy

    UK | 1 Nov 2017

     

    A PERSONAL AND FAMILY TRIBUTE, on behalf of David and Jo Cassidy I have known about Brother James since I was a young child growing up in Bournemouth, when my late father, David Cassidy, began to fundraise for him in this country. Together with my late mother, Jo, they were blessed to have a lifelong and very deep friendship with Brother. Dad first encountered Brother James (or Brother Lionel as he was then known) when Brother came to teach at St Peter's School Bournemouth, at the age of 23. Dad studied A level art under his tutelage, and as anyone who has seen Brother’s paintings will know he had a wonderful talent for the subject. Brother left the UK in 1952 to work in Sri Lanka (known then as Ceylon), and my father lost touch with him until 1973 - when Brother was working amongst the poor in remote villages in southern India. I recall my father telling me that he had received a letter out of the blue one day, wherein Brother asked him if he would be willing to raise funds in the UK for the work that he was engaged in amongst the very poorest of the poor. At that time this encompassed orphans, widows and also primarily lepers, as the disease of leprosy was still prevalent in India at that time. Dad therefore asked St Peter's Old Boys Association, of which he was then secretary, to adopt Brother’s work as one of their charities – and hence the original "Brother Lionel Fund" was born. More letters followed, in which Brother implored my father to become more personally involved in the fundraising, as the felt need was so great. Dad replied at first that he was working full time and had a young family (there were only 3 of us then – we went on to become 5!), and that he felt he couldn’t commit much more. However, such was Brother’s persuasiveness with his heartfelt observations of abject poverty that soon my father was spending much of his free time writing newsletters, giving talks to parishes and organizing various fundraising activities. The greatest of these was the Annual Brother Lionel Bring and Buy Coffee morning – the first of which was a humble affair in 1978 and by the time it ended 21years later, a total of £99,250 was raised through this means alone. The Brother Lionel Fund continued to thrive via sponsored walks, donations, at home coffee mornings, and through daily penny collections by pupils at St Peter's School – and to date has raised over £577,000. By 1983, things were too much for Dad alone to manage, and hence Reaching the Unreached UK was formed by him and 3 other supporters, and officially registered as a charity in this country. By this time my Mum Jo was also fully involved in all the related activities, and us kids too were often to be found stuffing envelopes or counting money in Brother’s name. Brother James had a wonderful attitude to how his work would be funded – he had an absolute belief in divine providence. Many a time I recall a phone call from India to our house at 2 am in which Brother would detail the next project that he needed funding for – he had no doubt that the money would manifest from somewhere!! He and my father corresponded by frequent letters over the years, and I know Brother enjoyed reading about the snippets of our family life that Dad shared with him. For our part, when growing up his name was mentioned so much in the house that he always felt like a part of the family. They both had a very dry sense of humour, and each would gently rib each other and have a good laugh about it. I believe in those early days Brother also spoke very personally in his letters about his hopes and fears for his life’s work, and confided many thoughts to my father, and through this they developed a very deep, strong personal bond. In a letter written in 1982, my Dad promised that “One fine day I’ll come out and see you” and, after his retiremen,t they finally met up again when Mum and Dad made the first of many visits to RTU in India. Their re-connection was instant, and both rejoiced in renewing their friendship with James in the flesh. Both my parents were astounded at seeing the extent of Brother’s tireless work, and I believe Brother was wily enough to know full well that having seen it at first hand my parents would be even more enthused and committed to promoting the work when they returned home. They would spend the evenings in the guest huts at Anbu Illam talking and reminiscing, and these provided joyous memories for all of them. All the time Brother would mischievously laugh at Dad’s inability to eat the customary Indian food, and find it particularly amusing that he survived his time there on cuppa soups! My father and Brother met for the last time in 2009, when my Dad’s health was deteriorating, and I’m convinced they secretly knew it would be their last goodbye. In many ways I feel they were soul mates, and when Dad died in 2010 I know that Brother was personally devastated. However, the friendship with my Mum, Jo, continued to give both of them solace and support. She took it upon herself to send out regular “British” food parcels to him which he delighted in receiving, including Christmas puddings and cake; and on later visits managed to conceal well-wrapped and hidden goodies of shortbread, cheese and bacon which somehow made it through Indian customs! He would wolf these offerings down and plead for more on her return home. I have had the honour and pleasure of meeting Brother for myself on three occasions, the first one being with my Mum, Jo, and brothers Mark and Steve in 2012. The very first time we encountered him he arrived at speed on his scooter, at the age of 88, despite aches and pains that he never complained about. He was full of energy and constantly busy with the never-ending challenges of the work he was involved in daily - despite his advancing years he hated the thought of needing to slow down. We later visited him in his campus office, where to our amazement he demonstrated the seemingly “magic” art of divining for water on a map. It was a fascinating insight into the further talents of a man who had spent his life in the service of others. We accompanied him to a house opening ceremony in one of the remote villages, and everywhere he was greeted as some kind of hero figure. People knew they owed the improvement of their lives to him, and he was showered with love and respect wherever he went – but remained an entirely modest and unassuming character. In what little spare time he allowed himself, he enjoyed reading all kinds of books and in earlier years produced some exquisitely beautiful drawings and paintings. He loved to follow the fortunes of the English cricket team, and was keen to keep up with the politics of the outside world. Particularly poignant was being able to witness his sheer delight when observing the children in their afternoon play activities. He would ruffle their hair and smile; always with a kind word or mischievous joke, and in turn they worshipped him as their “Thatha” (grandfather). Brother James was a man who touched the lives of everyone he met – you could not fail to be both humbled and inspired by him. He had a profound effect on my family’s life, and I now understand completely why supporting his work became an all-consuming passion in my parents’ lives. On the wall at the entrance to the St Peter’s School campus in India is an inscription, which reads, “Much of what we do is like planting trees under which we may never sit, but plant we must”. I feel this sums up the sheer vision and dedication of this truly remarkable and unique individual. May he rest in peace in the quiet corner of Anbu Illam Children’s Village where he is now buried, forever to remain amongst the people he loved so very much and to whom he dedicated his life’s work. Sue Davies, daughter of David and Jo Cassidy, on behalf of the Cassidy family

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