Dedicated to our friend John O’Sullivan

When Kairos Trustee John O’Sullivan died in January, we lost a valued friend as well as a trustee. Last Friday, John’s wife Mary and their children – Ciara, Conor and Randall – joined Kairos trustees and other community members to celebrate his life and contribution to Kairos. Some 30 of us gathered in the garden of the old vicarage in Streatham, where Mrs O’Sullivan unveiled a plaque that was installed in entrance hall. It reads: “This house is dedicated to the memory of John O’Sullivan (1961-2021) in appreciation of his work as our trustee.” 

“Even before becoming a trustee three years ago, John had been a wonderful supporter of Kairos for many years, raising funds through events and raising awareness of our work, said Paul Carter, chairman of trustees. “And while a trustee, John introduced us to the Maudsley Charity which continues to this day to support those in our complex needs houses. With the grants John helped secure and funds raised in his name, his legacy lives on.”

Kairos director, Mossie Lyons, continued: “As well as being a great friend, John kept a critical eye on Kairos’s finances as its Treasurer and he was always on the lookout for us. We also thank everyone who contributed to the online giving page set up by John’s family in his memory. It has raised almost £13,000 for Kairos, which is ringfenced to provide people who have been through rehab with us the opportunity to get back into work.”

Giving people a chance was a guiding principle for John, as his daughter Ciara explained: “Those who knew my Dad will know he was very passionate about seeing everyone get the best possible chance in life, regardless of where they’d come from. It’s a very fitting tribute that the funds raised will be used to be that helping hand for Kairos community members to access a few more of life’s opportunities.”

Why have we chosen this house to dedicate to John’s memory? Mossie answered: “It was first move-on house bought by Kairos in 1996 and still exemplifies Kairos’s spirit and work: it’s home to 10 residents in recovery and the large garden is the HQ for Kairos’s team of beekeepers and seven hives. We have planted a willow tree for John in the garden, too, which will provide the first forage of the year for the bees. It’s a life-giving, organic historically rich place.”

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a delicious outdoor buffet lunch prepared by Hafida Soltani, caterer at our residential rehab, Bethwin Road. Thank you, everyone who worked late into the night before to prepare house and garden, and to Dave Newman for his photographs on the day.