My final blog

This is my final blog. It’s not that I’m about to peg out. It’s possible, but unlikely just yet, though it isn’t going to be long. I’d rather finish with a clean ending. My world has rapidly closed in over the last few weeks, and I’m on the final faltering steps of what has been an amazing and unexpected journey for the last 14 months. Views have largely gone, though not entirely, coming now from the love and warmth of my family, and friends that call round.

After this Jane and I will keep people informed through email – so if you are not receiving direct email from me, but would like to be on the email list for information, please let me know.

I have mentioned to a few people about doing a blog on inequality and football, a companion to the earlier inequality blog. That’s not now going to get done. But there’s one anecdote that I’d like to include here. It was my granddad who first took me to watch Halifax Town (and to County Cricket at Bradford Park Avenue). I was probably about 6 or 7. My Mum told me she’d once been with him to football, but was so embarrassed by his shouting that she never went again; to me it was hugely entertaining. His abuse was never targeted at opposition fans or opposition players, or even the referee. It was targeted at our team and particularly the poor goal keeper seemed to cop it. One favourite shout, I still remember, was “ We pay thee ten quid a week to keep ball out a’t goal. I could board it up for less na that.” With hindsight clearly its nonsense: at the time I thought it hilarious.

I thought long and hard before starting doing a blog and I’m very glad I did. It’s been very therapeutic for me and people seem to have appreciated it. My thanks for all the comments, messages etc. that have resulted. They have helped me on this journey. It is interesting how the medium of this blog has enabled me to have very different conversations with people and reconnect with people. I have been very touched at how much people have opened up to me through it.

Finally, I’ve always felt it a privilege to live in a country with seasons and I particularly love the changes from one to another. In a contrary way Spring seems appropriate for where I am. It’s a time of renewal, reawakening, new birth; so it feels to me a good time to leave some space!





About Richard Crossley

Resident of Headingley in Leeds. Community activist. Soul fed by mountains and the Yorkshire Dales. Follow football and cricket. Career in community development and social housing - cut short in early 2013 by cancer diagnosis.
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23 Responses to My final blog

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

  2. rvernelle says:

    Its been a privilege to read your blog, Richard – I’ve visualised those Lakeland outings you’ve described and found myself nodding vigorously at much of the wisdom you have shared. I can only thank you for sharing your insights and reminding me what really matters in life. My mum described dying as her “last big adventure”. You seem to have embarked on that path with the same sense of wonder and humour. Thank you for letting us come along for the ride.

  3. Pat and Lhakpa Sherpa says:

    Beautiful Richard, just like you.
    Love and Peace – Pat and Lhakpa

  4. Paul Roberts says:

    Truly amazing, Richard, may your journey be peaceful

  5. jane anthony says:

    Dear Richard
    I just want to thank you for taking me on your lovely walks. I don’t suppose you realised but it was like a window opening in my life to be welcomed by a group of lovely people to walk and share ideas and conversation. Your blogs have been inspirational and I wish you and Jane all the peace and love in the world.
    xx Jane

  6. Pat and Sam says:

    Thank you Richard for sharing your journey with us. We met and shared the walk in Turkey. A journey not to be forgotten. Often a picture of this time comes up on our screensaver and I am reminded of the heat, the stony outcrops, the views and of course the swim in the sea on that relaxing day aboard the small boat. So often in our travels we meet someone and the for the next while or years we wonder what has happened to them, where they are, what their next ‘journey’ is. Whilst yours has been heart wrenching ist times, it has allowed us to get to know you all that more. Thank you for that and our love to Jane with the strength that she brings to you. We are currently travelling in New Zealand. A spectacular place to be.
    Pat and Sam Grumont

  7. laurapep says:

    Richard, I promised our colleagues that I would write what they collectively told me to, so I speak for all at PEP when I say that you have been such an inspiration to so many people throughout your life and have been so courageous over the past year or so. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. You have always been such a valued member of the PEP team and will always be. We all thank you for your invaluable contributions over the past 20+ years. We wish you peace and love for the rest of your journey.
    All our thoughts and prayers go to you, from the team at PEP xx

  8. Dear Richard
    I read your blog last night, at the end of a day which was dominated by the coverage of the events marking the 25th anniversary of Hillsborough. Perhaps the Justice for the 96 campaign goes some way to address the football and inequality issues you were hoping to take on in your blog. I was moved sometimes to tears by the speeches made by family members of the Hillsborough victims, and by Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rogers. Their theme was how the campaign for Justice for the 96 was inspirational. Good to see you picking up the football theme also because I know it is a passion of yours and I loved the story of your first match at the Shay with your granddad. I think my emotions were running high anyway, but I found the tears welling up again. You thanked people for reading your blog but I am not sure that you fully understand what a privilege it has been to read it. Where it comes to facing the journey that you are on, I only hope that I can muster an ounce of the wisdom, courage and humour that you have shown. You are an inspiration and I think you should know that you are surrounded not only by the love of your family but also of your friends, including this one.

  9. Goodbye, Richard, and thanks so much for sharing these last stages of your life with us. I’m only sorry I knew you so little – briefly at the CLG and through Big Local. I came to really appreciated your wisdom and commitment through reading your blogs, especially the ones where we can claim overlapping passions, namely equalities, justice and the Lakeland fells. I was over in the western mountains this weekend and thought of you lots – especially as we drove home to Kendal over the ‘big and twisty’ passes, and thought of you struggling up to visit Blea Tarn for one final time. I only wish our paths could have crossed more often.
    with love and appreciation,
    Alison G.

  10. Tim Morton says:

    Hello Richard
    Thanks again for a perceptive blog, and as others have said thanks for sharing your journey with us.
    I remember chatting with you about football at PEP meetings, a useful lingua franca for men who don’t know each other very well, and again it’s one of your Halifax Town stories that came to mind. I think you had been taking the children to watch Leeds when they were troubling the upper reaches of the Champions League with a squad of babies. Anyway Halifax Town were preparing to exit the Football League Division Four through the trap door and so you took the youngsters to the Shay for the final match. I think it was your son who turned to you after watching about 5 minutes of the game and said “This isn’t football!” and later your daughter asking why grown men were crying at the whistle.

    I’ve lost a lot of interest in the game, party as a result of the ubiquity with which it dominates TV schedules and the vast sums of money flowing into so few hands, so would have read your football blog with interest. I too found yesterday’s Hillsborough tribute very moving, and was directed to a you tube clip of Andy Burnham’s speech from 5 years ago when he was interrupted by a cry of “Justice ” which led to the whole Kop singing “Justice for the 96”,, returning 5 years later having opened up the vaults, he was given a standing ovation by many of the same people yesterday.

    And so I exhaust my repertoire of football stories, take care on this last stage of the journey Richard, I have been privileged to know and work with you, and to benefit from the changes in social housing, tenant control and neighbourhoods that you pioneered.

    Thank you

  11. Diane says:

    So Richard, which came first – the chicken or the egg and then the who lit up first ? I’ll never forget your speech with CLG present when we all held our breaths and waited for their reaction! But as usual you got it right, just like now – lots of dignity and a dose of humour.
    I want to send you a picture, but I can’t upload here can you send me your email.
    You know I empathise and how close to home this is for me and it was good to talk. Be comfortable in the love and warmth of your family and friends – it will always be there for you xx

  12. Jennifer Sutcliffe says:

    Richard we have met only occasionally at family events but I have read your blog with interest and admire the positive way you approach what is to come for all of us. I know you don’t share the faith of many of your family members but we do share your commitment to justice and equality.It really is difficult for some of our north Halifax friends and neighbours in this current climate of welfare cuts etc. All we can do is to try to speak truth to power and give of what we are and have to support those to whom life has been so unfair. Congratulations on your well deserved OBE and our thoughts and prayers are with and for you and your family as you continue your journey.

  13. Melissa says:

    Richard, I have found your blog so inspirational and moving. I was so delighted you made it to the Lakes. Thank you for sharing your experience. Much love to you all.

  14. robin lawler says:

    R ichard
    It was I know a hard blog to write about your experiences & at times- like now- a hard blog to read. But I’m glad you wrote & I read.
    I hope you can enjoy the love & compaionship of your family a bit longer.
    Love to Jane

  15. Chris Allen says:

    Dear Richard

    Like others I want to thank you for your bravery in writing your blog when my temptation would have been to withdraw from everything and slip quietly into the night.

    I have been humbled by your frankness, openness and honesty through your writings. They reflect a life well lived – the same as it has been at all times – reflecting the values of all that I believe in.

    I want to thank you too for this opportunity to say this to you. In my ‘vicaring’ I have often said words about people – but it has been too late for them to hear. Like others, I have learned more from you than I can ever put into words.

    I know we differ in our beliefs about the next stage of your journey – so forgive me for hoping that for once you might be wrong! However it is, you will live on in the hearts of those who love you and respect you.


  16. Rachel Peto says:

    Hey Richard. Looks like you are living with cancer in the same way that you have always lived your life. I get your news from Karen and I’m glad you have packed in lots of good times – not to mention your insights and reflections written in a lovely and unpompous way. we’ve bumped into each other rarely over the years, but it hasn’t stopped me thinking of you with great affection, and respect for your work and now for how you are handling this phase of life. Seems to me to be a life well-lived. Love, Rachel

  17. Sarah Lerner says:

    Dear Richard

    Your blog has been amazing and I have been saying to Bob that I think it should be published in a traditional sense….I think you have packed more into your life than a lot of people do who live much longer… my love to you and to Jane.. I would love her to keep me posted

    With much love

    Sarah xx

  18. Jenny and John says:

    Good bye Richard.
    Much love Jen and John. XXX

  19. Lesley says:

    It was a privilege to know you Richard – we’ll miss you. x x x

  20. Pauline Bispham says:

    I sent you and Jane some hills yesterday but you had already left . Thank you for your blog and love to Jane xxx

  21. Martyn Kingsford says:

    It was with so much sadness that I learnt today that this, Richard, really was your final blog.We in the housing sector have suffered a great loss.Richard was outstanding as a champion for tenants rights and involvement. A really good guy and I was so please Richard was appointed OBE and was able to go to the Palace.
    Farewell Richard, I will miss you and I will remember you.My thoughts and prayers are with Richard’s family.

    Martyn Kingsford

  22. rafisaville says:

    Dear Richard I just heard your journey came to an end on Monday . You were an amazing man and will never be forgotten xxxxx

  23. It was indeed a great privilege to know you Richard. I’m grateful for the time I spent with you and your huge contribution to the world of social housing. But more than what you did, it was how you did it that mattered – with kindness, respect, dignity and enthusiasm. I hope many more of us can continue to learn from your example.

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