12 January 2017
Below are the words spoken at his funeral by Chris Wright, Catch22’s CEO.
I appreciate that today is a sad day as we say goodbye to a truly honourable and good man, but I want to spend a small amount of time simply reflecting on the John we knew at Catch22.
Catch22 was established in 2008 following the merger of Rainer and Crime Concern. John had been employed by Rainer since 1975 and in many ways he was the personification of what our organisation is about. We are concerned with supporting troubled and vulnerable young people become the best they can be. We do this through delivering a range of services from providing education to delivering children’s social care and justice services. We’ve been doing this in Northamptonshire for over 50 years. John has been at the centre of this for the majority of that time, first with Rainer and subsequently with Catch22.
For John providing support for young people wasn’t about doing what the contract said – it was much more than that. It was about believing that the youngster could achieve, could do better, make a contribution. This approach resulted in thousands of young people being given a chance over the years, and huge numbers of our staff growing and developing as they benefited from John’s wisdom, coaching and enthusiasm. John was the template for those we want to work for Catch22 – although we’d welcome a bit more attention to the paperwork!
I want to reference to a few stories from those who worked with him with him which pretty much sum him up. For example a description of John’s car:
‘It was like an extension of his personality – it was equipped for farming, any DIY situation and home birthing – calving ropes always at the ready to assist pregnant staff…’
Or the time a colleague Amanda was given a lift. She was a bit surprised when John kept saying ‘lay down baby.’ Unbeknown to Amanda, John was in fact talking to his dogs in the back…
And there are many stories of John’s generosity. The Charles Bradlaugh pub features here but his Frolics in his Field events for staff are remembered with great fondness by colleagues. I’m sure in the pub later we might get more insight into the tractor rides!
But the best way to describe John is perhaps by using his own words. In 2005 John won a national award for his work, The Outstanding Contribution to Tackling Youth Crime Award. As a consequence he had to do a number of media interviews – you can imagine how that went down. In an interview he gave to Children and Young People Now magazine he said:
‘Not giving up and building constructive relationships is the key – if you strip everything else away what you’re left with is a group of human beings working together with a common cause.’
Let that be his legacy. John Andrews – a good man.