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Tribute to Helen Bamber

In the media 29 August 2014

The Room to Heal community is deeply saddened by the recent death of Helen Bamber but also hugely inspired by the life that she has led.

Helen supported Room to Heal in the very earliest days of the project’s infancy, understanding how the cultivation of community could provide a hugely powerful and positive healing resource for torture survivors living in exile. Helen has been in many ways the mother of Room to Heal, as our community has taken shape, and is remembered with huge love and admiration by many members of our community, who also knew her through her work at the Helen Bamber Foundation.

Helen’s passionate, tireless, generous and loving spirit will continue to inspire everyone at Room to Heal, as we feel she would have wanted.

Our Founder & Director Mark Fish remembers her here:

I miss Helen

When I leave the Foundation at the end of the day on Wednesdays and Thursdays

I cycle past Durham road on the way home

And I often get the urge to ride up the street to Lennox House

The old people’s home where Helenshe spent the last 14 months of her life

Just to see her again one last time

I still find it hard to accept that she’s gone…


I miss Helen

I miss Helen just sitting there

In the office in Museum Street

I miss her voice and her eyes

And her sheer presence

I miss the fullness of her

I miss her roundness and her shape

Sitting there on the edge of her seat

I miss her tiny feet and small shoes

And her impossibly unblemished skin

Her bouffant hair

And her cape and her umbrella

I miss the sheer physicalness of her

So much energy and life packed into so small a package


I miss Helen

I miss her laughter and her bright smile

And her sense of mischief and fun

Her fierce intelligence and her wicked wit

Her tenacity and fighting spirit


I miss Helen

I miss Friday night whisky sessions seated at the round table in her office

And dinners at the Thai restaurant – where a waitress would ceremoniously present her with a special cushion to park under her bottom

So that she could eat comfortably at the table

I miss her stories and her vivid memories

The FEPOW – the old Far East prisoners of war who she met once a year in Berwick-on-Tweed without fail

Until there were none of them left to meet

Her glamorous aunt – from whom she said she got her fashion sense – who died in the bombing of the Café Paris during the Blitz

The running battles between anti-fascist groups and the Mosleyites on the streets of East London in the 1930s

And her girlhood crush on Barry Sherwin – the leader of a street-gang who she hung out with – on the banks of the River Lea in Hackney


 I miss Helen

I miss her extraordinary capacity for love

Her love for her clients

And for her fellow workers and colleagues

And for her friends and family

Even for the drivers’ of her beloved Green Tomatoes taxis

I miss Helen’s love

I have been inspired by it

I have grown through it and I have been changed by it…

And I will never forget her…


I miss Helen

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