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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/briantimstrusteeofmiriamdeanfund
    https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/Kimpton/Contributions/Find/RestofWorld0/briantimstrusteeofmiriamdeanfund

    Brian Tims, trustee of Miriam Dean Fund

    UK | 16 Jan 2018

     

    RECOLLECTIONS AND REFLECTIONS FROM THE MIRIAM DEAN FUND Miriam Dean first heard of Brother James's work during her visit to India in 1978. They never met but came to know each other quickly and deeply through an exchange of letters in which they were both able to pour out their problems and express their concerns and thereby counsel and support each other. Through the Fund that she formed, Miriam was able to support Brother James and RTU in practical ways as well, with grants of money and by sending great sacks of clothes and toiletries, including numerous ‘baby bundles’ containing a towel, two nappies, a sheet, a layette and all that a mother needs for a new born. Miriam died in 1980 and responsibility for the Fund passed to Trevor and Val Dorey, who made many visits to Kallupatti and came to know Brother James very well. They were also early trustees of Reaching the Unreached in the UK. In a tribute published in the Fund’s Winter Newsletter, Trevor wrote: ‘Brother James Kimpton died peacefully in October, aged 92. Within two days 100,000 flocked to pay their respects. Shrines are being built. Such was the reputation of the friend with whom we worked for forty years. James joined a Catholic teaching order in his teens and taught art in Southbourne. Then, drawn to serve the world's poorest, he worked in what was then Ceylon and Madurai before moving in 1974 to start a Boys' Village for 100 destitute youngsters in Batlagundu, Tamil Nadu. The year after, he was asked to care for four orphans whose widowed father had died of starvation. So, Reaching the Unreached was born, with groups of children in the loving care of foster mothers. The first Village – Anbu Illam (place of love) – was followed by three more including the Miriam Village and thousands of young lives were transformed from destitution towards fulfilling careers. In parallel RTU spread its work into the surrounding villages where the sick were tended, the hungry fed, schools and houses built and water installed. India's President once visited to honour Brother James for his unrivalled service to the rural poor. My first memory, from 1982, is of seeing him sitting, late at night, deep in prayer. In private letters he had spoken of his tiredness and even his desperation at the size of the task. He was a shy man, almost aloof at times and fiercely protective of his flock. He set the highest standards for himself and expected them of others. A necessarily isolated figurehead he was, I suspect, at his happiest when the children surrounded their "tatha-ji" (beloved grandfather) in the haven of Anbu Illam's occasional film evenings. As we made our final farewell in 2006, holding hands on a little seat in silence, I felt that perhaps, after twenty years, I knew him for the first time; that in the spiritual life greatness is always married to vulnerability, compassion to deep suffering, self-sacrifice to a joy that passes normal understanding; and that prayer is the key to it all. Those new shrines will, if not in their words, honour a certain Christlikeness.’ After Trevor and Val retired as Trustees at the end of 2008, the present Trustees have continued to support RTU. All Trustees have visited Anbu Illam and met Brother James and been caught up in the wonder of what Brother James has created and the extensive scope of what RTU has become and achieved. Added to that, the personal esteem and regard all of us have for him cannot be underestimated. Whilst his passing is deeply mourned, his legacy continues undiminished and all of us at the Miriam Dean Fund look forward to supporting the work that he started. Brian Tims Trustee of Miriam Dean Fund

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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/scottprestontrusteeofrtuintheuk
    https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/Kimpton/Contributions/Find/RestofWorld0/scottprestontrusteeofrtuintheuk

    Scott Preston, trustee of RTU in the UK

    UK | 16 Jan 2018

     

    I first met Brother James when I was 17 when I was a volunteer with the Lasallian Developing World Projects, organised by Brother John Deeney. He spoke to our group a few times and he in particular struggled with my Glaswegian accent. However I was so impressed with the work of RTU that I went back out in 2009 for 6 months, and it was here that I really got to know Brother James. I had the task of creating a digital archive of all of the photos, old newsletters and correspondence he had collected since the 1970's. I had a small office and huge metal trunks would be carried over from Brother James's office. This was a labour of love for me - I scanned thousands of photos and papers, which Brother James had created on his old typewriter and these would reveal small treasures. I came across a photo of Father Anthony as a young boy swimming in one of the water tanks at Boys' Town, and other members of staff when they were small children. Brother James poured a lot of his emotions onto these pages, and so I felt that it I gained a unique insight into his life and some of the hardships he faced. However for all of these, he found joy in the lives of the children. I would sit with Brother James some mornings, and we would watch the children as they walked through the RTU campus down to the school. Some of the older, more confident children would shout over “Morning Tatha!” Brother would always smile, laugh and wave back. I remember one particular boy ran up to Brother in the morning to say hello, and in Tamil they had a short conversation before he ran off again to join the line. Brother turned to me and said that the boys father had killed his mother by setting her on fire, and the small child had witnessed it. There were many more stories like this, and Brother would remember them all. He carried such a huge burden on his shoulders, and he truly loved and cared for every child who came through RTU’s gates. His old letters also talked of the burden that he felt not just for the children, but also the poor in the wider community. There are many cases where he wrote about driving through a village, seeing the poverty and conditions people lived in and immediately he would set about doing something to address this. That was one of the beautiful things about Brother James and the vision and ethos he has created at RTU - poverty affects all and RTU will do whatever it can to help those who are suffering. News travelled far about the tall white Englishman helping the poor in Tamil Nadu. Brother James very casually told me about a hospital his friend Mother Theresa from Calcutta was trying to build near Madurai, and how she was struggling with this, so he decided to help her build her hospital. He spoke often and warmly of his friend from Calcutta and how he was looking forward to one day seeing her again. In 2013 I went back to RTU for the Christmas period to visit the staff and teachers at RTU. This is a magical time, as all the children, and past pupils, are welcome to come back to RTU, just as any child would return home at Christmas. Again I sat outside Brother’s office talking and a young man came up and tried to handed over his first pay packet to the Brother. Brother James disappeared for a moment and came out with a Child Sponsorship Form which he asked the man to commit to, which he did. This was a very touching moment - just as any child would want to give their first pay packet to their parents, here was no different. Through documenting the old newsletters one particular quote has always stood out to me, and I have used it numerous times when talking about the work of RTU. Br James wrote: “Do you know what it is like to wait for a first smile on the face of a lost little child? Do you know what it is like to long for the day when the child will recognise security and love and the warmth of acceptance and to show that by a tentative smile? That for us always means a victory.” RTU is and always will be a place where children can find security and love and acceptance, and it is a testament to the work that Brother James Kimpton started, and is now faithfully continued by such dedicated staff at RTU. I planned to study business at university and eventually move to London to work in a big bank, but my time at RTU and with Brother James had a huge impact on my life. I was so inspired by his work, the love and dedication that he had for each and every one of the children, it changed my outlook on life, so I have much to blame him for! Br James was a mentor, a friend, and an inspiration. His legacy is in good hands with the dedicated staff of RTU and the thousands of supporters around the world. Scott Preston

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