For those who may or may not have heard – our dear friend Phil Spalding has passed.
I first met Phil at the Bucks County Council cafe in Aylesbury. A friend and colleague (Lee Scrafton) introduced us as I was trying to progress a Hep-C pathway in Bucks as the adult substance misuse commissioner and Phil ran a Hep-C support group in Swindon and had much expertise in creating a working Hep-C pathway in Swindon where he lived at the time. After the meeting Lee said, Google him and I did and became aware not for the first time that Phil was a many sided diamond.
I worked with Phil on the new Hep-C pathway for Bucks which made access to treatment more straightforward and much more effective for those in drug and alcohol services. The pathway continues at and is part of Phil’s lasting legacy in this area of work (others will also testify how much of a campaigner he was in this area having gone through it all himself).
I also partnered with Phil in helping a Swindon based charity (they were called SWADS – [Swindon and Wiltshire Alcohol and Drug Service], at the time) and enjoyed spending time with Phil and being regaled by him about stories from his past (the highs and the lows).
Phil also got involved with our Towards Recovery Recovery Cafe in Henley, coming along to cafe nights, speaking and playing music at our conferences and events – see here for a talk Phil gave on Addiction, Hep C, life in recovery & learning to work again at our 2015 conference.
He did so much other stuff with us and for us and I enjoyed seeing him up there and being part of the behind the scenes chatting and organising because he had a way of making you feel involved and important. We did a music event at The Ley Community rehab, An Evening with Phil at the Recovery Cafe in Henley, music and a talk on the Isle of Man for Quing, a recovery community there and so much more.
He was a regular at the virtual zoom recovery cafe meetings with a positive and encouraging word to keep going, keep battling and keep doing the right thing.
When we met up with Helen Spalding and Maja and it was clear they were his world and that he loved them very very much.
Phil, we’ll miss you, you inspired us and made us feel things were possible. Your faith and the way you talked about God nourished us and gave us hope and we hope that we’ll see you again in heaven.
I’m sure there will be more said to honour you Phil. You remain in our hearts and we hold Helen Spalding and Maja there too.
Huseyin and the Towards Recovery Community