Anyone who ever came to Arts For All - or who met us whilst we were on one of our many adventures - knew Brian Carter. He was The Godfather, Grandfather and friend of us all and when he died on Sunday 2nd April we all went into a state of complete shock. At the time of writing it has still not really sunk in.
In early March 2002 I was sitting in my office trying to get my head around the fact that we had just set up a new charity - Arts For All and had started small, with a 10 week photography course. We had interviewed tutors and had a class of 12. All was going well. The phone rang. It was a gentleman asking if he could join the group and, although the class was officially full I automatically said YES! It was none other than Mr Brian Carter and so our great friendship began.
Brian became the resident photography teacher, computer genius, expert on pie and mash cafes and steak and kidney pudding and the authority on the correct pronunciation of various words!!!!! He spent many happy hours up in AFA with me and with his many friends there. He would be chatting to the guys or tinkering with the computers, or getting us an amazing deal on Ebay for something!!
At Arts For All we go on many trips and can often be found out and about, in and out of London. Brian was always with us. We have had several memorable trips to Margate and when we are there this July we will miss him desperately. Last year, on our wonderful holiday to Devon, Brian was amazing. After only a few hours he was on first name terms with nearly every guest and staff member and with a cheerful 'babe' or 'mate' he endeared our whole group to everyone. He made friends wherever we went but it was within the walls of Arts For All that he had the best ones. We were a second family to him and he was, without question, the head of this crazy family!
Lastly, but for me most important, Brian meant everything to me. In many ways we were soulmates. We spent so much time together and he treated me as if I was an extra daughter. Everyone always commented how much Arts For All did for him and meant to him. What no one ever really knew was how much Brian did for ME. He supported me unconditionally and never judged me. We did not always agree on everything but we completely respected each other and, above all else, we were great friends. THANK YOU BRIAN for everything. I love you and, alongside your Arts For All family, I will miss you forever.
All my love,