Goodbye, and thank you

2nd November 2018

Our Chairman of Trustees, Alastair Irvine, has recently relinquished the position after helping to steer us successfully through the sometimes-turbulent waters of the last nine years

Alastair Irvine retirement blog

As we thank him and wish him well, he reflects on the past and the future.

“It is with sadness that I retire as a Trustee of Meningitis Now. As I hand over to my successor, Andrew Fletcher, I relinquish the position of Chairman, which I have had the privilege of holding for eight years."

“Good governance dictates trustees ought not go on and on; in any case finding the balance between continuity and attracting new people to the Board with fresh thinking is healthy for any organisation to continue to adapt, evolve and thrive."

“I’m not going to describe the history of the past nine years; the highlights, particularly the merger between the Meningitis Trust and Meningitis UK, and the successful introduction of the MenB vaccine are well documented."

Two anecdotes

“Instead I’ll simply relate two anecdotes which, for me, provide a symmetry, like bookends, to my time with this great charity."

“In 2008, an 18-year-old girl at my son’s school succumbed to virulent meningitis on a school trip abroad. Traumatic for her family, friends, the staff and the wider school, it made a great impression on me too, having had HIB meningitis myself as a child (I was lucky - the only lasting after-effects, apart from having a memory like a sieve, being deafness and tinnitus. The fight for the television volume control is an ongoing feature of Irvine family life but that’s another story)."

“My wife spurred me on to ‘do something!’, to try in some way to ensure nobody else should have to suffer such a catastrophe. So began my association with the Meningitis Trust in mid-2009."

Fast forward nine years

“Fast forward nine years to my very last week as Chairman. My daughter introduced me to a work colleague of hers, a mother who had lost her child, barely five months old, also to meningitis."

“In the unlikely setting of Tesco’s bread aisle she described how the family had been put in touch with us, we gave immediate financial help and longer-term practical and emotional support. The family never forgot how we put a big arm around them when they most needed it. In turn, to help others not to have to endure the same pain, they and their friends have raised a substantial sum on our behalf."

“That simple three-minute conversation with a complete stranger but sharing a deep common bond made its own impression, neatly summing up the enduring essence of how Meningitis Now makes a tangible difference."

“My association with Meningitis Now is most certainly not over, it merely becomes a couple of stages removed."

Clear vision

“We have a clear vision of why we’re here and what we need to achieve to meet the needs of our beneficiaries, whether through research, awareness-raising or support."

“I send my thanks and very best wishes to all our donors, supporters, staff and volunteers in whatever capacity they give their time, energy and expertise. Without them none of what we achieve would be possible."

“The charity is in capable hands; there may be challenges ahead (it would be amazing if there weren’t) but I am confident of its great future.”