We are paying tribute to our longest serving volunteer who has recently passed away.
Wes Philp, aged 82, who died on March 6, joined us within weeks of our formation in 1991 and was a stalwart supporter.
Annie Clewlow, Manager, says: “We were so very sad to hear that our longest serving volunteer, Wes, has passed away. He’ll be very sorely missed by us all in a whole variety of ways, including his down to earth advice as we navigated this constantly changing world.
“It is particularly poignant to have lost Wes now, as we celebrated our 30th anniversary last year, and he was presented with a long service award, along with 28 other Communicare volunteers, who all received recognition for between five and 15-years’ service. His son Matthew and daughter-in-law Leanne said he was incredibly honoured by his 30-year certificate and proudly showed it off to family and friends. As a result of his role with our charity, they asked for donations to Communicare at the funeral and raised an amazing £770, which we’re very grateful for.”
“Wes was there at the beginning and was one of our first Communiteers. Sadly, those who can remember the start of our charity are now dwindling in number and we were indebted to Wes for all the memories he shared with us from those early years. More recently, he shared with us all the goings on with his two young granddaughters, aged seven and five, who he talked about a lot – he said they kept him young! His family and friends here at Communicare are going to miss him tremendously.”
Speaking in November at the award ceremony, Wes said: “My faith is what first motivated me to volunteer with Communicare, and I knew then that I was joining something very special. The charity has come on in leaps and bounds since the early days and being able to watch it grow and expand throughout the years has been wonderful.“Celebrating a 30-year anniversary is a fantastic achievement and having so many volunteers being recognised for their long service to people in need in Southampton is something that we’re all very proud of.” David Glenn is a Communicare volunteer and has fond memories of Wes.
He said: “I used to go fishing with Wes and he was very patient with my inexperience. He always put the worms on the hook for me, as he knew I was too squeamish to be able to do it. I never did become any good at fishing but looked forward to our trips, as Wes was always very good company.
“He told me years ago, when on one of our fishing trips, about his Communicare volunteering and I was so impressed that I decided to join too! More than 10 years later and I am still volunteering.
“Wes was a role model for me to try and follow and no doubt he was for many other people. His faith shone through in the way he lived his life, always putting others before himself. I am so glad to have known him and counted him as a very good friend and mentor.”
Communicare volunteer and former Trustee, Bob Petch, also had kind words to say about Wes.
He said: “Volunteering is a very rewarding and satisfying activity, and Wes, through the outworking of his strong faith, led the way by displaying his selfless willingness for more than 30 years to bring a little richness into the lives of lonely and isolated people in our community.”
We have received so many messages in memory of Wes, that we have compiled them together here.