Kevin was born on 10 July 1958 and very sadly passed away on 12 June 2017. I was privileged to know Kevin professionally through the Southern IT Forum (both of us being early organisers of the group) and also to experience the incredibly moving and inspiring presentation that Kevin gave on 18 May. Please do read Rob Fletcher’s retelling of the event (below); no-one who was there can forget it.
Late 2014 brought the first diagnosis of cancer and after two major operations, three rounds of chemotherapy and much other treatment, it spread to his brain with the inevitable terminal prognosis.
Brought up in London, Kevin went to Battersea Grammar School, followed by Imperial College obtaining a First in Chemistry. His career started with Racal, then British Aerospace and into social housing with Wandle Housing Association for five years, followed by a quite formative time of 16 years as assistant director with Origin Housing. There were a number of short-term posts during his illness in recent years, the most notable being 21 months with Sutton Council and he was still on the payroll when he died.
Turning to the man, Kevin had two brothers, one sister and sadly is out-lived by his parents. He married Norah and they had two sons, Steven and Matthew of whom he was immensely proud. He couldn’t be idle and was continually buzzing with ideas; in the final years, he joined two charities, VOICE – Implementing improvements to cancer services at St George’s Hospital and as a disabled representative on the Fan’s Forum with Chelsea Football Club.
My description of Kevin from the funeral item on the SIT Forum was: “A fun, generous, ungrudging, problem-solving man and a great asset to our group”. A life-long Chelsea fan, this was one theme of the funeral; others were love of family, stout, wine and (no surprise here) more Chelsea. I also wrote “It’s not often that I can say I’ve enjoyed a funeral; however this one certainly made the grade. There was humour, good music, poems, memories, sadness but mostly a celebration of Kevin’s life.”
The last song of the funeral really summed up Kevin to a tee, “Bring me sunshine”. I will remember his humour, incredibly positive attitude under great adversity, someone who cared about life and really lived it. If you had known him, you would feel exactly the same.
Barry Alford, Head of ICT, Paragon Community Housing – 18 July 2017
Charitable donations in memory of Kevin
If you would like to make a gift, Kevin’s family have nominated St George’s Hospital Charity, Tooting (Registered Charity Number 241527), Cancer Research or Trinity Hospice (Registered Charity Number 1013945).
Having known Kevin as an ICT professional in housing for many years, I was extremely fortunate to hear Kevin make an incredibly inspirational presentation to a group of housing ICT leaders at a recent Southern IT Forum event at the Microsoft campus in Reading just a few weeks before his death. Kevin’s final presentation was awe-inspiringly humorous and extremely positive. In-fact, the presentation was titled “Death ‘I.T.’ Happens” which was very apt given the audience!
In his presentation, Kevin described his rollercoaster of a journey from the original cancer symptoms all the way through to his palliative care. He also spoke about how hard he found it to tell his family about his diagnosis. Kevin kept very active throughout his treatment through his involvement with the VOICE cancer group and his association with Chelsea Football Club as a disabled rep. Kevin was his usual light-hearted self, on fine form and a delight to listen to.
Kevin encouraged the whole room to stop for a moment and reflect on the fast pace of life and how relentless the passage of time can be. He delivered a very strong message about enjoying each moment, living life to the full and loving the people around you, including friends, family, colleagues and professional associates. Kevin reminded us of the vital importance of our relationships with others and above all else how we need to stop from time-to-time to realise how lucky we are that we have health and love in our lives. Kevin also spoke about how he had prepared himself and his family around him for his passing and how he much he had relied on the people close to him to support him.
Everyone was profoundly struck by what Kevin had to say in his presentation and I know many people reflected deeply about Kevin’s key messages. Kevin was a truly remarkable person and his bravery, fight and humour set a level for us all to aspire to. During his presentation, his love for his family and friends was clear to see and he will be sorely missed as an IT leader in the housing sector. His trip to Microsoft was a special moment as it reminded us about how fragile life is and how we all need to stop moaning about life and start enjoying it more. We will miss him but will remember him always.
Kevin reminded us to celebrate every day you are here and that life is too short to worry only about work. Also, life is too short to hold grudges, to lose friendships, to hide who you are, to live with regrets, to be scared, to shed tears, to waste time and to not be you.
Rob Fletcher, Group Head of ICT, GreenSquare Group – 14 July 2017