Welcome to the Aylesbury Group
My name is Geoff Price and I facilitate the Aylesbury Group. I first found SOBS 12 years ago, very soon after my wife had taken her life.
A colleague’s wife, who worked in the NHS, sent me ‘Help is at Hand’ and I found SOBS in there. Living not far from Ilkeston, I attended the group there for the first time, just four weeks after her death. Gill Irish led the group at that time, with, of course, support from Eric. I was given the opportunity to talk and I remember being shocked at some of the stories that I heard, especially from those who had lost a child.
I then attended regularly, taking great comfort from the meetings, and when Gill decided to step down, I offered my services as Group Leader. From there, things escalated, and I was invited to join the Trustees, when Angela Samata was Chair. In the absence of any other volunteer, I became Interim Treasurer, hoping that someone better qualified would come along, but nobody did.
There is no denying that those years, around 2010, were very difficult for the charity and our very existence was threatened. There were those who, with the best of intentions for their own groups I am sure, refused any sort of change. With perseverance, we were able to progress, bringing in expert consultants like Keith Slater and Jez Spencer, who advised us on winning Lottery funding and improved the training that we could offer to Volunteers. With Ann Culley and Eric Thwaites steadfastly piloting our ship, and David O’Grady’s support, we were able to emerge from those days.
Six years ago, my new partner and I moved to Buckinghamshire, where I had lived 35 years before, to be nearer our families and I resigned from the Board of Trustees. There had been a SOBS group in Aylesbury, but it had faded away some years before. With the help of Karen Lascelles, Fiona Argelliez, my partner Viv Suttie and later, Sarah Samways, we re-formed Aylesbury group five years ago and our success enabled us to set up Milton Keynes group, run by Sarah and Gill Boiling.
It has been my good fortune to meet some wonderful people during my time with SOBS, and I have taken pleasure as I have seen them come to terms with their grief and grow stronger. While I still take solace for myself from the meetings, real or virtual, that is my main reason for continuing to play a small part in the growth of SOBS.
Thank you SOBS, like so many of us, I have no idea where I might be without you.