This month we bade a sad farewell to one of our longest standing volunteers Brian Armstrong, who died at the end of January after a short but sudden illness.
Dear Brian came to Mildmay as a volunteer placement from John Lewis more than twenty years ago and has been a part of the Mildmay family ever since. A steady and reliable presence, Brian’s voluntary support was mainly focused on fundraising but he also provided a helping hand for our chaplaincy team.
In 2016 Mildmay acknowledged his contribution to our work with a long standing volunteer award, which was presented by The Lord Mayor of London.
For the current fundraising team Brian was “our constant, our friend and support” always ready to tell others about Mildmay’s work and mission. Mildmay was his home-from-home, he brought us home made cakes and marmalade, shared his stories and supported our work. He was a proud and truly kind man, with a generous heart and a strong sense of faith. Through Mildmay Brian rubbed shoulders with dignitaries, VIP’s and celebrities including of course HRH Prince Harry! He also met The Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and at our carol concert, stars such as Linda Robson, Anita Dobson, Marc Almond, Kim Wilde, Patti Boulaye and Stephanie Beacham to name just a very few! .
Brian was there to support all our major fundraising events whether it be by making a Yorkshire brew, shaking the collecting bucket, manning our stand at Pride or inspiring support for Mildmay on World AIDS Day-he also always wore the best Christmas jumpers!
Brian knew so many people, at events such as Pride London, they would often come to our stand just to say hi to Brian…. and would then often support Mildmay in the process. Sister Bernie, head of chaplaincy at Mildmay introduced Brian to the LGBTQ+ group at Farm Street and also to St Bernard Abbey and both places became deeply important and well loved places for Brian.
Brian had lost many of his own friends to HIV and never faltered in his support for Mildmay, the charity he knew had brought healing, help and comfort to so many.
It is impossible to express in these few words how much Mildmay meant to Brian, or how much he in turn meant to all of us. We simply cannot imagine Mildmay without him- he will be a deeply missed friend and remembered fondly.
RIP dear Brian.
Brian’s funeral was held on Friday 16th February 2018 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception Farm Street.
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