It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of Colin Meager, a friend and volunteer of Birmingham Conservation Trust and the Coffin Works. Our sincere thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.
Out of respect for what Colin did for us and the impact he had on helping to reshape our organisation during a transitional period, we dedicate this piece to his memory.
Four years isn’t a long time, but the difference Colin made to our organisation in that time cannot be overstated. Colin ran his own accountancy business and he volunteered his skills to Birmingham Conservation Trust and the Coffin Works by supporting our finances. It involved filing accounts, VAT returns, and everything financial in between; all the things that so many small organisations can, and often do struggle with. Perhaps what they struggle the most with is finding an individual with those skills who’s willing to offer advice and time for free. It’s rare. He was always there to help and if he couldn’t, he knew somebody who could.
Never have I met someone so genuinely helpful who never wanted any gratitude in return. Everything Colin did for us at the Trust was because he truly wanted to ‘give back’ and he never asked for anything in return. He was always so willing to commend others before himself, always recognising the worth in what they had done, and perhaps never really appreciating the impact his skills had, and how they made everything we did that little bit easier.
In spite of all of this, he still thought his contribution was small. It wasn’t, and sometimes I have to remind myself that he did all of this as a volunteer. In one of our last email exchanges, I had asked for some advice, which Colin gave willingly (and expertly), but he signed off saying “Sorry that I am no help at all to you, as usual !” He couldn’t have been further from the truth. His dedication was such that he was producing management accounts and other financial reports from his hospital bed in order for us to submit emergency grant applications. But the fact that he often didn’t realise the difference his contributions made to us is part of what makes him such a genuine spirit; it’s part of what makes him special.
Having an employee as good as Colin would be a gift, having a volunteer who contributed as much as he did, while never demanding anything in return is rare. The impact he had on our organisation in just four years is a legacy that will live on, but one that we’ll feel even more greatly because you just don’t come across many Colins. Replacing the skills is tough enough, replacing the man is impossible.
None of this will come as a surprise to those closest to him, but on behalf of all of us at Birmingham Conservation Trust and the Coffin Works, we want to say thank you to Colin Meager, a friend and colleague who made the biggest difference in such a short period of time. You will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.
We pass on our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Sarah Hayes, Coffin Works