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Bob Holman

13th November 2016 Share

It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication by a lot of people in the last 25 years to get us to this point, and this type of dedication and commitment can be epitomised by one man, Bob Holman.

After moving to Easterhouse in 1987 Bob quickly realised the need for a community organisation and two years later he, alongside several other members of the community, formed FARE.

During the vitally important early years, Bob fought hard to get FARE off the ground, working for nothing and using his talents as a writer to try and spread the word and get donations.

He set up Friends of FARE in order to raise funds through donations and no matter how much the organisation grew Bob continued to work hard and increase our list of donors year upon year.

Bob put FARE’s success down to community involvement, and the fact is it was he who was largely responsible for inspiring the community to become involved.

Before making the selfless decision to move himself, his wife Annette and their two children David and Ruth from their comfortable life down south Bob was a professor at the university of Bath whilst Annette was a lecturer in social work in Bristol.

Bob was of the belief that the best way to help people was to live with them, not lecture them, and he stayed true to this by injecting himself and his family into the community with open arms, open minds and an open door.

Bob also held a firm belief that the church was central to tackling poverty, and indeed the motivating factor in his decision to leave his academic life behind was that he felt his lifestyle was inconsistent with his Christian faith.

Recently a memorial service for Bob took place in the Easterhouse Baptist Church where hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to a man who they said had been a father, a brother, and above all a friend. An egalitarian, Bob saw the value in everyone and stuck to his principles by turning down an MBE in 2012.

As well as being a husband, a father, a man of great faith and a community activist Bob was a brother to Janet and John and a grandfather to Nathan and Lucas.

He was an academic, an extremely talented writer who wrote for the Guardian and used this talent to campaign for social justice. He was a brave fighter, overcoming cancer. A member of the Labour party, a West Ham supporter. An expert dishwasher at the Frontier camp for young people which he attended year after year.

Bob Holman was many things. A source of support and guidance. A man who lived by his beliefs and principles. A friend. An inspiration.

In 2015 Bob was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and passed away on 15 June 2016. Politicians, academics, journalists, editors, pastors, social work professionals and community members have all paid tribute to the ‘beaming light’ and the ‘giant of social justice’ that was Bob Holman.

Bob’s influence can be seen throughout FARE. Many of our full-time staff have benefited from the services Bob worked so hard to provide as young people and several of them owe their achievements to the support that Bob gave them and their families.

Even as we continue to grow and move forward we know that the next generation of community workers will benefit from the doors Bob worked so hard to open and the opportunities he dedicated so much of his life to creating.

His honesty, integrity, kindness and sheer passion for helping others are the foundation of FARE, and his ethos will remain embedded in our roots and continue to inspire our work every day as we continue to branch out.

The order of service at the memorial service contained the perfect quote from Bob which embodied all that he stood for: ‘If I have achieved anything, I hope it is seen in other people, not me’. One does not need to look far within the Easterhouse community or indeed within FARE to find someone who will testify to these very achievements.

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