I am writing to inform you that I will be stepping down as CEO of For Jimmy on the 12th November 2018 to undertake some new challenges of my own
When our family lost our beloved Jimmy on 10th May 2008, it changed our lives irrevocably.
It was often said when Jimmy died that he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and for me this was simply never true. What could ever be wrong with being in your local bakers on a Saturday afternoon just 100 meters from where you live. It one was of the earliest assumptions I had to confront: the things we say to each other, always with the best of intentions, that are aimed to comfort and put at ease, but do not face up to the reality of the situation. Over the last ten years Jimmy’s charity has faced up to, and confronted, many more assumptions about society and how we live in our communities, and from the beginning, we have worked passionately to tackle those issues head-on so that our young people can have opportunity and hope for the future, not fear and danger, and ultimately so that no more families have to hear the devastating news their child or sibling has died.
As the Chief Executive of Jimmy’s charity, I am proud to say that we have worked tirelessly to combat the causes involved in youth violence so that young people do not feel threatened and unsafe in their schools, streets and communities. I am proud to say we have worked hard to steer young people away from the negative. I am proud to say we have not shied away from complex deep-rooted problems. I am proud that we have shown to young people that they matter, that they have worth, that they have positive, meaningful roles to play in our society. I am proud that we have not ignored young people’s pain in the hope that it goes away. I am proud to say we have helped, and will always help, young people believe in themselves.
I will be the first to admit it has not been an easy task, there have been many hard times and moments when I have felt overwhelmed with the challenges our society faces, but we have never given up and I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the many hard working and inspirational people I have met during the last ten years. I have had the good fortune to have had some of the most dedicated staff and volunteers work with the charity, we would not have got where we are today without them and you. I do not want to single people out as there have been so many I would need a whole book to thank you individually, but please know every single person who has helped me has contributed enormously and each and every one of you can also take pride in the charity’s accomplishments, thank you.
I would need a second volume to name all the amazing individuals that have helped the charity in other ways, such as our trustees, event sponsors, those who have helped me network and meet other people working for change, the thousands of you who have taken part in our charity walks and events, the police officers, politicians, teachers, headteachers, community leaders, councillors and businesses who have gone above and beyond to help. And every single one of you who has ever donated, thank you, your money has directly helped young people in our communities and every time you have mentioned our charity the word has spread and helped us grow.
But what I am most proud of is how Jimmy’s charity can be measured in more than pounds and pence; it is how the love of a single family has burst out into the wider community. It is how that love has helped others to love, it is how that love has never lessened but only strengthened with our mission, it is how that love has transformed into a determination not to let grief overwhelm; to remain positive, to stay optimistic, to believe.
We have achieved so many wonderful triumphs over the past ten years. I am eternally grateful to everyone who has worked so hard for our Jimmy’s legacy during my time as CEO. It has been an honour to work with you all and a privilege to have met so many incredible people who have overcome their own moments of pain and are building paths to help others.
Still, to this day, I am inspired by the words and actions of my parents Barry and Margaret and will take that inspiration with me as I enter into a new era of my life.
Jimmy’s charity will now embark on a new stewardship, as an incoming CEO will have the opportunity to help shape the future of Jimmy’s charity along with Barry, Margaret and the board of trustees. I will always support and champion Jimmy’s charity, and I will always be there for my family, but it is the right time to undertake new challenges of my own, and I look forward to seeing For Jimmy’s growth and successes of the next ten years with pride and admiration as it continues to build the types of communities we all want to live in.
Finally, I would like to thank Jimmy. It has been an honour and a privilege to lead his charity. It’s a charity like no other. It has and always will be for him.
With thanks and gratitude,