Monday, September 24, 2007

LDSG annual report: a true and compassionate fighter

Caroline White, Chair of the London Detainee Support Group, ends the 2006/07 report by referring to:

"... the sudden and tragic death of a great favourite of staff, volunteers and detainees, Ester Gluck. Her family attended a memorial gathering we organized to celebrate her life and to remember Ester as we all knew her — a true and compassionate fighter for those whose lives are much less comfortable than our own."

Ester Gluck, 1982-2006
The sudden and untimely death in September 2006 of our colleague Ester Gluck was a great shock to all who knew her. Ester was heavily involved with LDSG for over two years as a volunteer and staff member.

She began to volunteer with LDSG in Autumn 2004, working one day per week in the office and visiting a detainee another day. As office volunteer, she covered the detainee freephone, and invariably dominated one end of our cramped and somewhat chaotic former offices on Holloway Road. From the start, she regularly had to be cajoled into finishing a telephone conversation with a detainee as we tried to close the office at the end of the day. She had an uncanny ear to be able to communicate with every client in exactly their own register, and visited many of our most lost and disorientated clients.

In her ten months as a staff member, Ester extended her formidable skills to supporting volunteers. She was as endlessly patient and supportive of all the volunteers she supervised, as she was furiously intolerant of hypocrisy wherever she encountered it.

Ester was an extraordinary human being. Her irresistible passion and commitment, and truly exceptional ability to communicate with even the most distressed and damaged clients, influenced all she worked with. The depth of feeling throughout the organisation was clear at the memorial event we organised, which was attended by members of Ester’s family, and from the many tributes from volunteers and clients. She is greatly missed.