Happy 9th birthday to everyone who is Leuchie!

When Kate asked me to write for the Blog, giving my reflections on Leuchie’s birthday I said yes, of course and almost immediately thought, people have birthdays, organisations don’t, do they?

But what is an organisation but a collection of people, gathered around an idea? And what is a birthday, if not an outpouring of relief after a long, often painful, wrenching and bloody process coming to the hope of new life? Most of you reading this will know that this is an apt description of the (re) birth of Leuchie 9 years ago. Like the mythical Phoenix, all that is sparkling burst out from the hot ash, which was all that was left of the hopes of so many guests, staff members and volunteers who had come to love and rely on this extraordinary organisation.

There were many, perhaps most, who said it could not be done, even that it should not be done, but a few extraordinary people said it could be. They were driven on by the certainty that what was special must continue and they took on to be the midwives, the nurturers of this precious new life.

And so, hope was born from the fire, new friends welcomed this strange, wonderful organisation, taken in by its energising, rampant character which could not be ignored or by the simple truth of its necessity. Taking all that was good from before, nurtured by those who loved it and not suffering too harshly in the hands of those who were confounded by it, Leuchie began to grow up, changing according to the influences on it but never losing its essential character.

That character has an enduring and at the same time enigmatic quality. Leuchie is of itself and at the same time a reflection of all who have influenced her. Leuchie is not her 4 walls, splendid though they are. Leuchie is not the grounds which bring such tranquillity or the equipment that enables people to enjoy their stay. To think of Leuchie in such concrete terms is to mistake her character entirely. To paraphrase (Captain!) Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of the Caribbean, ‘Those are the things that Leuchie needs, not what Leuchie is. Leuchie is hope, care, the comfort of an old friend at a tough time. It is care and it is joy, that what Leuchie is.’ She is many faced, everyone who has stayed here, worked here or befriended her has left their impression.

She has suffered from time to time, perhaps at no time more obviously than at the present, but once again her certainty of purpose is seeing her through. She knows what she is, she knows what matters, what must be done and she has the fortitude of friends, old and new to help her rise to the challenges of her days.

Hundreds of people have left their mark on her character and in celebrating Leuchie’s birthday we celebrate one another’s commitment to what Leuchie is, so happy birthday to everyone who is Leuchie!

Mark Bevan, CEO.