The film was made in order to share some of the research findings from a feasibility research study funded by a UKRI Healthy Ageing Catalyst Award which explored the […]

By |11th January, 2024|Uncategorized|

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‘Internal Reflection’ – Part of the ‘Mamma, In the Meantime’ SeriesShared with kind permission of Tony Luciani – © 2014 Tony Luciani.

Sarah Jackson’s moving account of Marjorie’s journey to herself.

“When […]

By |11th January, 2024|Uncategorized|

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Sarah Woodroff reflects on the meaning of working with older clients.

“Never grow old dear”, is a phrase I have heard from lots of older people. I worked as a […]

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Heather Wilkinson is a Registered Psychotherapist and a Professor of Dementia Research at the University of Edinburgh, here she shares her thoughts about the value of therapy for those […]

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Hannah Clarke-McKeran, Youth Parliament Member for North Tyneside

Hannah Clarke-McKeran writes about becoming a Member the UK Youth Parliament.

When we think of the term ‘do it yourself’ the first thing […]

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Last night we were priviledged to hear Gary Greening, Sarah’s husband, Annie, her sister and Yvonne Lawrence, her dear friend and colleague, share their memories of Sarah’s years with Northern Guild. They want their words to hold fast to that moment and live on in the hearts and minds of those who heard them.

I want to share my words from last night here because, as a founder of Northern Guild, I want our deep appreciation of Sarah and our love for her to be a matter of written record.

The last four years of Sarah’s life were hard and painful for her, for her family, her friends and us, her colleagues and for me, personally. Sarah was life- loving and life- affirming.  She did not go quietly into that good night. But used every ounce of her courage, ingenuity, intelligence, creativity and innovative spirit to heal her body from the illness that afflicted it. Sarah took her illness seriously but she did not let it stop her living fully even in the midst of a pandemic. And she did not let it stop her family living their lives.

We all have powerful, vibrant memories of Sarah. For each of us here tonight she holds an important place in our heart. A place that is distinct, unique and impossible to replicate. We may share memories of circumstance and events – washing tea bags, her wonderful cooking, her impish naughtiness – but for each one of us the light and shade that made the Sarah we knew will be slightly different. Tonight we have come together to remember Sarah in all her glorious human richness and complexity and to take another step on the road towards trying to make sense of her loss. To come to terms with a death that came far too early and was random, cruel and unforgiving.

Sarah was in her mid-twenties when I first met her. She bounced up the steps of 77 Acklam Road with a big smile. Her wavy hair encircling her face. Her full cotton skirt billowing around her. In the time it took her to reach the door I felt the full impact of her warm, vibrant charismatic energy and her trusting openness.  Through almost four decades I had the privilege to know Sarah profesioanlly in many ways; as a TA trainee, a Psychotherapist, a Trainer and Colleague.

Personally, she allowed me to share important moments in her life. Her Wedding. What a glorious day that was! As you might guess, a traditional white dress was far too mundane for Sarah. She wore stunning Indian red silk with an amazing headpiece of fresh flowers made by her favourite florist, Carl Banks. Her friends and her sister, Annie, buzzed around her like loving butterflies helping her get ready for her big day. Her exquisite bone structure, wide smile and big eyes helped make her one of the most beautiful brides I have ever seen.

And in the days before the UK really got to grips with birth doulas, Sarah was on it! She had Gary with her and her team around her, each with their part to play as we waited anxiously and excitedly in the corridors outside the birthing room nibbling cakes from Betty’s.

Sarah gave herself wholeheartedly to every bend in the road, every twist and turn of her life. She was lively, imaginative, caring, committed and involved with everyone she met and all that she embraced. Charming, artistic, loving, loyal, honest, truthful, competitive, impulsive, shy and funny, she brought her full arsenal of talents and abilities to her life and her work. Her Free Child was impossible to resist!

Whatever epoch of her life you look to, there is a constancy about Sarah, the things she believed in, the philosophy she lived by and her way of being. In that constancy we can find her legacy.

We may have lost Sarah but we can hold fast to what she embodied and take it forward in our own lives. We can each, in our own way, ensure that the seeds of human goodness and compassion continue to grow freely and abundantly.

Community mattered hugely to Sarah. She believed in inclusion, co-operation and sharing both in her life and in her work.

Fostering community sounds easy. Sarah knew it wasn’t. It involved hard work. The willingness to hold and share responsibility, to be trusting and show you are trustworthy, to be open, honest and above board and to be involved, committed and caring. Sarah embodied this way of being.

In the later years, her work at Northern Guild was almost exclusively from Acklam Road. She took it upon herself to show the initiative and lead by example, taking care of the small details as well as the big picture. She made beautiful flower arrangements using whatever the garden could offer – ivy, daffodils, rosemary. She brought in milk for tea and coffee. She plumped cushions. Stacked and then unloaded the dishwasher. Put beautiful objects in her work room and always left the room immaculate when she had finished. Mundane details? No! absolutely not. Sarah knew this is the minutiae that really matters if a community is to thrive, be nurturing and support its members.

 If one quality were to stand out above all others for me about Sarah it was her absolute belief in fighting fair. She had strong views which she shared readily. And she was never afraid to disagree. But she was always open, honest and straightforward about her opinions. You never had to guess what she was thinking She told you. And she was willing to stay close, connected and engaged even at the most heated of moments. She could slug it out with the best of them but she never diminished the value of the other person or of their view. Sarah believed in honest, engaged sharing that trusts the bonds of relationship to withstand the strain of difference and to emerge stronger for it.

The International Transactional Analysis Association has introduced a ‘Living Principles’ Award presented to a member who is recognised as having advanced the growth of Transactional Analysis primarily by personal example.

Over nearly four decades, Sarah Greening has advanced the growth of our community at the Northern Guild through her personal example of openness, honesty, commitment, trustworthiness and loving care. We are the richer for what she gave to each of us and to our community.

We mourn her loss and celebrate her life.

By |11th January, 2024|Uncategorized|

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