Patrick Brown, 77, retired
Mentor – Haringey Community
How did you arrive at abob Haringey?
I’ve lived in the same two floor maisonette which consists of a basement flat in Peckham for 42 years. My neighbor told me about them. I went to one of the weekly meetings and I liked what was going on. They are doing something positive for youngsters. When I was working, I went to Jamaica for three months every year but I’d retired and stayed here because of my grandchildren.
How was BTH for you?
It struck me that everyone has a story. I was part of grown men crying. I see that we became men at this point, whatever our age. It was great that we men were encouraged to express ourselves, to talk freely without embarrassment and to get and give support where needed. I had never in my life been in a situation like that. We got to say what we wanted, from the heart. I have got a bad shoulder at the moment. I need an operation. Tonight is the first time I will miss a weekly meeting.
Did you have any reflections afterwards?
Yes, I realized that life has so much more to offer. Money is not the most important object, but sitting with a friend and talking and connecting. We learnt how to truly speak and say how we feel. We thought about encouragement.
Have you been a mentor?
I have and I enjoyed it. It’s not about what you tell them to do, but rather what you share. It feels so free to speak. I love everything about abob. Everything comes from the heart. There’s always someone to talk to, which is great. And the young men at the weekly meetings always great me with compliments and offers of support.
What do you think about the future of abob?
It should be in all countries, it so good. The young and older men are all honoured during the weekends. There are so many different characters, everyone has a part to play.