Hope for Children are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dr Bob Parsons OBE who died on 29 March at the age of 88 following an 18-month decline in health. This man was an amazing person; an energetic Christian socialist and philanthropist with a strong Quaker faith. He had huge amounts of drive and determination. Peace and social justice were at the centre of his life and work. The charity he founded, Hope for Children, is determined to carry forward that work.
He was born in London on 12 April 1933 to a proud working-class family with his Scottish heritage influencing him greatly. Following Bob’s marriage to Ann they settled in Hemel Hempstead bringing up their children, Kathryn and Graeme, in their beloved family home. During a very full life Bob contributed hugely to addressing the needs of others, both in the Probation Service and later, as a senior manager at Save the Children. In the latter role he discovered that many disadvantaged children were overlooked by the larger charities; he felt very frustrated about this serious gap in provision. Hope for Children, the charity he founded prior to his retirement was started with a donation from a former Probation client – a prisoner whom Bob had befriended after his release. This ‘miracle’ £5,000 donation was to be used ‘to help disadvantaged youngsters’, and since then many thousands of children have been helped by his charity. Hope for Children was established and registered on 23 October 1994. It is still thriving today, as testament to his sheer determination to give children life opportunities to enable them to thrive.
His father’s clear and wise words to him during a difficult time, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease prior to his death, became the watchword of his life and work: ‘In the last moments of your life, would you be able to say that the world has been a better place because of your presence?’ There are thousands of grateful people around the world who would confirm that it certainly has!
This remarkable life is recorded in the book he wrote. A Journey of Hope is available from Hope for Children. The charity continues to strive to deliver his mission, to create opportunities for overlooked, vulnerable and exploited children living in extreme poverty.
Friday 8 April, 3.20pm, West Herts Crematorium, High Elms Lane, Garston, WD25 0JS
Warners End Community Centre, Northridge Way, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP1 3QG from 5pm
Donations to Hope for Children Reg. Charity No. 1161729: hope-for-children.org