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Author Topic: For Nick Banton (16 September 1956-19th July 1994)  (Read 4257 times)

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Offline gemini20

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For Nick Banton (16 September 1956-19th July 1994)
« on: July 19, 2010, 06:04:23 PM »
Nick Banton    (16th September 1956 - 19th July 1994)

Today is the anniversary of Nick’s death and although it has been sixteen years now I still think of him often and always acknowledge him on this day so thought it fitting to add him to the Memorial Thread.

Nick was my first boss, an openly gay HIV positive man who I originally had heard about when I joined Body Positive (London) shortly after my diagnosis in 1991. Nick had been a founding member of BP and became its first General Manager before moving on to become Commissioning Manager for HIV/AIDS services at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

I had been volunteering in the office at BP, helping out with the administration when I heard that Nick had a job opportunity opening up at the Council to be his administrative assistant. He got to hear about my work at BP and asked if I would like to meet with him to discuss the post. The informal interview process got completed after half an hour and he offered me the position.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work directly with him and his openness about his HIV status ensured that I was able to get a great deal of support both from him and other colleagues when I chose to disclose my status shortly after starting work in that office in early 1992.

Throughout the two years we worked together, I discovered a man of great intelligence, of vision, of real understanding of the needs of people with HIV as well as someone who still liked to party and travel! His death came very suddenly and left a huge void in the lives of so many people.

He had the most wonderful smile and I still see that every morning thanks to a photo my friend Nicholas took of him when we had to have 'office photos' taken - it ended up being used on the order of service for his funeral and I'm sure many kept the picture as a reminder of this beautiful man.

It was only after his death that I discovered what a fulfilled life he had lead and to capture that completely I am copying one of the obituaries that appeared in The Guardian newspaper after his death.

“In the mid-eighties Nick Banton, who has died aged 38, became HIV positive. His reaction to that showed how personal concern can be transformed into an agenda for all society. In 1986 he was a founder of Body Positive – the national self help group for people living with HIV – by 1988 he was a full time worker for the organisation, and in 1989, he became its first general manager.

Having completed an Oxford doctorate – he was a promising Anglo-Saxon scholar – Nick had joined Amnesty International in 1982, working in Indonesia and the Philippines during the last throes of the Marcos regime. He learnt the language and used his formidable intelligence to effect. Amnesty reports of the period were informed by his meticulous examination of documents and eye for the legal detail. Asia Watch, in New York, runs a project documenting human rights violations in relation to HIV and AIDS which is a direct legacy of his work.

Nick was a member of London Lighthouse’s council of management; he made a reality of self-help for himself – and others. He wrote medical briefings, helped in the development of protocols for medical trials, negotiated with the Department of Health , and participated in international forums.

To all this he brought a rigorous professionalism and an infectious zest for life, friendships and travel. He enhanced the vision gay men have of themselves – and thus enriched us all” 

Thanks for all you did Nick, it will never be forgotten.
Diagnosed 11th September 1991
Current CD4 count 484 (26%); viral load undetectable (December 2011).
Restarting boosted Prezista 08/04/11


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