A Network of Regional Youth Work Units, in England, collaborating across regions to promote good youth work and young people’s voices.
All week I have been making mental notes so I could write a blog on commissioning. However as I sit down to write I realise that actually I want to write about my friend and colleague Paul Boskett who died suddenly on 7 February 2014.
Yesterday I went to Paul’s funeral and what an emotional rollercoaster it was and what a testament to a wonderful man who touched the lives of so many people. The church was packed; even 45 minutes before the service started there was a queue to get in. The downstairs was full so we went upstairs. That filled up and so did two overflow rooms where people watched on screens installed for the occasion.
The moving tributes from old friends, family and pastors gave a full and rounded picture of Paul and, even though I knew him for more than 10 years, I learned so much more about him. His friend Reverend Andrew Taylor said something that really struck me. He quoted words that can be found in St Paul’s Cathedral, on the burial plaque of Sir Christopher Wren. “LECTOR SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS CIRCUMSPICE” or “Reader, if you seek his monument – look around you”. Doing just that we saw family, friends, colleagues from BYC, UKYP, Cheshire, the North West, from the church, scouting, and trade unions. There were young people, older people, people crying and people laughing. It was amazing to think one man had touched so many lives and in so many different ways. As Paul’s brother concluded his very personal and funny tribute to him with the words, “I give you Paul Boskett”, the whole church burst into a prolonged round of applause – it was a special moment.
After the service the church provided tea and coffee and the noise levels rose as old colleagues and friends found each other. It was at least an hour later that I left the church. So even as we said goodbye to Paul his magic was working. Young people Paul worked with…now parents, businesswomen, youth workers themselves now or perhaps heavily involved in their communities…were busy swapping stories and memories of him. Ditto work colleagues and all those he shared his many interests with. Thank you Paul, always giving. I am so glad I had the opportunity and privilege to know you.
Paul Henry Boskett MBE 1954 – 2014
A tribute from Doug Nicholls, CYWU General Secretary 1987-2007,
Unite National Secretary 2007-2011.
A tribute from James Cathcart, Chief Executive, British Youth Council
(Including UK Youth Parliament and Young Mayor Network)
A tribute from Ron Davies of the Papa Bears.