In memory of John McCallum


John McCallum, Near Neighbours East Midlands Coordinator, passed away peacefully at home on the night of Saturday 28th of June.

John, who had a BSc in Environmental Studies and an MA in Inter Religious Studies, worked for more than 30 years in community outreach projects across the UK and in supporting international development charities, before joining Near Neighbours in 2011, at the time of its establishment.

Based at the St Philip’s Centre, John was active across Leicester and Nottingham encouraging local groups and individuals to work together to run projects that improved local neighbourhood. He was also popular across the Near Neighbours network for developing toolkits and running training workshops on faith project development, fundraising, community research and communications.

Supported by his faith, he was passionate about helping people, always ready to give inspiration, advice, support, and lots of laughter.

He will leave a huge gap in our organisation, for his family, and for all the people who knew him.

With her permission, we share a personal message that Shali Bullough from Leicester City of Sanctuary sent to John few weeks ago. It summarises perfectly who John was and how he was able to connect to people.

I've been thinking about you so much lately John, and meeting Beth yesterday reaffirmed to me how much influence you've had both on me and on our charity. You really did give me the confidence to start writing grants, and you have always been endlessly supportive with all my NN applications.

Not only that, the last time we met you were so kind, picking me up at the station and talking through things with me. I was quite depressed that day, everything was getting on top of me, and you were like a 'fairy godmother' arriving in your silver car, and giving me a bit of space to offload, as well as a lot of practical help! After that meeting I went on to get 4 smallish grants, which has now allowed us to take on an assistant coordinator to help me run the charity. You proof-read one of them, making great suggestions, and another was the NN application I'd submitted in the autumn that got funded with the extra money at the end of the year.

And I'm well aware that I'm only one of many people you have helped along the way. You are like a light, bringing warmth and positiveness to all you meet. You are generous with your time, happy to help in any way you can, and fun to be with.

I feel blessed to have benefited from your wisdom, enthusiasm and kindness and I wanted you to know how I feel.

Praying for you and your family


Shali Bullough (bottom right) and other volunteers from Leicester City of Sanctuary

Shali Bullough (bottom right) and other volunteers from Leicester City of Sanctuary

John’s thanksgiving service will be held at All Saints Church Bedworth (CV12 8NH), on Thursday 18th July at 1.00pm.

Refreshment will be served in church after the service. All are welcome.