It’s the afternoon after the end of the tour, but there’ll be time for more updates on that later. For now I’d like to talk about the person who inspired this whole thing. Lizzie Lee.
Yesterday would have been her 45th birthday. Today, sadly is the first anniversary of her passing away. My thoughts go out to all her family and friends, some of whom I’ve had the absolute pleasure of meeting along my journey. If any of you want to meet up anytime and say cunt a lot I’d be delighted.
I first met Lizzie when I began volunteering at No5 Youth Counselling in Reading. Lizzie hadn’t long begun volunteering as a counsellor there. I began as the receptionist on the Wednesday night rota, welcoming clients and answering the phones. As I began my counselling training and then headed towards seeing my first clients Lizzie and the rest of the team were a constant source of support, and filthy banter.
One of the things I remember the most about Lizzie when she was counselling was how she was constantly thinking she wasn’t good enough, that she should do/could’ve done better. I don’t think she ever saw herself the way we did, as a brilliant counsellor and friend.
As well as remaining a counsellor long after I, and the rest of the original Wednesday night rota left, Lizzie progressed to being on the exec committee at No5, helping to guide it though some difficult times, and putting a lot of time, effort and personal stress into this brilliant little charity.
She also used to work as a lab technician at RSSL, the research laboratory owned by Cadbury. It was just over the road from my own lab at Reading Uni, and I’d often pass her and wave to her on her way to work, always clomping along in her big boots. We used to share stories of lab based misdemeanors. I know that ‘Lipids Lizzie’ is greatly missed by her colleagues at RSSL.
She also did a huge amount of fundraising for Launchpad, a charity that was very close to her heart. Every year she would take part in their big sleep out event, and raised thousands for them over the years. I know they hugely appreciated all of her efforts over the years.
As I mentioned last night, I got asked why I chose the charities I did, rather than perhaps a cancer charity. My answer is that I wanted to do something that might really make a difference to small charities that are desperate for the money, rather than being a drop in the ocean for a larger charity. But mostly, I chose Launchpad, No5 and all the other charities around the country because I wanted to help continue the work she did while she was alive. Lizzie was a big rock, chucked into a pond, and the ripples of all her hard work helped make a lot of other people’s lives better in times of need. All I hope is this little pebble of a tour can help spread those ripples a little bit further.
There’ll be people in Southampton, Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Cambridge, London, Brighton and Reading who will have never met or heard of Lizzie, but because of her inspiration, maybe they’ll get just that little bit of help they need.
I think Lizzie would be chuffed, but deeply uncomfortable with all this attention.
Lizzie mate, I miss you, and my life was immeasurably richer for having met you. I’m really proud to have been your friend. x
You’re still a cunt though.