Remembering Damien

Posted on: 10th December 2014

Body & Soul’s Head of Volunteer Programmes Anneke has written the following tribute to Damien, one of our Teen Spirit volunteers, who sadly died recently.

Damien first walked through the doors of Body & Soul in August 2013 to volunteer his time and skills with young people affected by HIV in Teen Spirit. He had no idea the affect the organisation would have on him or the impact he would have, not only with the young people, but the staff and volunteers too.

The email Damien sent after his first night volunteering at Teen Spirit was exactly what I hope to receive from a new member of the team. “Really enjoyed this evening. A great bunch of people who I look forward to working with. I just hope to be able to help these young people.” 

Damien formed strong relationships with particular members of Teen Spirit who were interested in DJing and studio work. I would often find him just sitting on the basement beanbags hanging with a couple of members, discussing future career paths, music, relationships and who knows what else! I always admired how he would target those young people who often sat by themselves or struggled to engage in group settings. He was extremely inclusive, conscious of others and welcoming to those struggling to “fit in”

Throughout his first few months of volunteering, I watched his confidence and ability to connect with the young people at Teen Spirit blossom. He was sure to keep me informed with how he was doing… “I’m already feeling quite attached to the kids. Great personalities and they want to help each other. Amazing. I hope to be able to bring more to the table next week. Fingers crossed.”

Damien was determined to continue his volunteering at Body & Soul even when times were at the hardest for him. Looking back, I believe he didn’t want us to treat him any differently from the rest of the team. A true fighter.

I couldn’t assume to put into words what Body & Soul meant to Damien.All I know is that it did impact him in more ways than one. We will always be thankful for Damien’s time and support and we are richer for the kindness and compassion that he showed at Body & Soul.

Rest in Peace, Damien.  You’ll never be forgotten by us all at Body & Soul.

We would love those of you who knew Damien to share your memories of him below.

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  • RIP my brother… at 18:28 on 10th December 2014

    You will always be remembered, as a fighter, with great smiles and positive energy to all the young people in body and soul. I will forever love you and miss you. I am sad but heaven as gained another angel. Your brother Ricardo xx

  • Ganiat at 19:06 on 10th December 2014

    Rest in peace Damien.

  • Nancy at 23:52 on 10th December 2014

    Rest in peace Damien. You will always be remembered with great love. Thank you for giving strength and inspiration. With love and light forever and always.

  • kathy at 01:29 on 11th December 2014

    This is so wonderful to read, to know that he was able to do this would have been one of his proudest achievements. It soothes me to know that he had this and that he knew it was making a difference. I smiled when reading that he was wonderful at making people feel good and the ” fitting in”. He had the ability to make someone feel important, treasured and worth everything. I knew Damien through our families and my son thought the world of his cousin. Damien always had his back and fought for what is right. Missed x

  • Dawn at 10:25 on 11th December 2014

    So sorry to hear this sad news, Damien was such a committed volunteer and wonderful person. Rest in peace Damien x

  • Amy at 17:41 on 11th December 2014

    Very sorry to hear the news. Rest in peace, Damien. x

  • Blair at 13:36 on 12th December 2014

    Top bloke! He gave a lot of time and was always sincere with people. I really liked him. Rest in peace Damien, hope they have great music wherever you are! Blair

  • Jannet at 19:22 on 12th December 2014

    Rest in Peace, Damien

  • Anny at 10:10 on 15th December 2014

    It was such a pleasure to have Damien on the team of volunteers at Teen Spirit. He had such an honest approach to the young people and volunteers at B&S. He really valued the young people’s opinions, and respected them which garnered respect in return. He will be greatly missed. It was a real honour to work with him and his generosity will never be forgotten.

    We remembered him on Thursday at the Christmas Party, when the incredible CD decks he donated saved the day and helped ensure the night was a massive success, full of dancing and laughter.
    Thank you, Anny.

  • jed at 19:30 on 15th December 2014

    For so many people it seems all too easy to spend life focused on your own life, issues and problems. It takes something extra to choose to turn your efforts to the benefit of others. When it all comes down to it, this is all we really leave behind and Damien left his mark for sure…on his team at Teen Spirit and the young people with whom he shared his time, passion and life experience.

    We’re proud that you chose to become part of the Body & Soul family where you will always be remembered…
    Thank you Damien


  • Alex at 19:23 on 16th December 2014

    Saddened by this news. Thank you Damien for sharing your love and energy with Body & Soul.

    Your family are in my thoughts.