It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Graham Pearson on 26th January, 2019 following a short illness.
Graham was involved with the Next Step Trust before it was born, named or had a place to live!
His long and varied business experience was an enormous help in those early days as he reviewed the ideas and plans for the business. Initially, somewhat sceptical, he gave the idea a 30% chance of success but in true Graham fashion he was still willing to meet with the trustees of the newly formed charity and then became sufficiently involved to become its unpaid business advisor. For the Next Step Trust this was a huge benefit. From a group of individuals with great enthusiasm but only a little expertise of developing an idea into a fully functioning concept, we had someone that knew how to do it and we were delighted when he became a Trustee.
Having retired from his previous employment with Xerox Graham was invited to become our first part time CEO in 2006. He often worked many voluntary hours and his enthusiasm was so very evident. His IT background enabled him to set up the initial computer system and he designed the first website. He also looked at the financial management of the organisation and amongst everything else he was willing, and able, to do a bit of DIY as well, often carrying his toolkit in his brief case! There was never a time when he didn’t enjoy being at work.
However, he was aware that the organisation needed to consider his full time replacement in a timely fashion and he was part of the interview panel that appointed our second CEO in 2012. The staff team, which continued to grow, were nurtured and mentored by Graham but especially his replacement, Preet Sandhu, to whom he offered unstinting help and guidance. Following his retirement from his paid employment with the organisation, he once again rejoined the trustee board. He finally and properly retired in 2017 but of course, occasionally popped in to see how things were going!
Talking to Graham just a week or two before he died, he told me that his time with the Next Step Trust had without doubt been the most rewarding of his entire working career! It is a true testimony to his early involvement that now, just 12 years into its life, the Next Step Trust is meeting the needs of 50 young people who would otherwise have had nowhere to go after leaving full time education, has 60 members of staff, 4 day centres and a 3 bedded respite bungalow.
We will miss him very much.
He leaves his wife, Claire and three daughters.
Graham very kindly requested that any donations in his memory were made to The Next Step Trust. If you would like to do so, please click the button below.