ExtraCare Traditions – Jon Cleaver – R.I.P.

This is a re-post of a blog I first posted in January last year, sadly I have to report that Jon passed away in hospital in Coventry at the weekend.   He made a unique contribution as a volunteer at ExtraCare and enriched the lives of all the residents he photographed and wrote about.   Jon’ s warm smile and likeable style, together with his considerable journalistic skills helped champion the value in older people that they were often too modest to talk about themselves. He will be much missed by everyone who knew him. God bless you  Jon.

Foot note :- When I spoke to Jon’s son Mark today he told me that before Jon came to ExtraCare he was in partnership in his photography business and the company was called after both of their first names —-  Jon Graham Photography.   Jon never told me that 😄



For blogs in this series, click on “ExtraCare Traditions” in the TAG CLOUD

Jon Cleaver The photographs that accompanied all the ExtraCare Tradition blogs were taken by a truly, extraordinary volunteer – Jon Cleaver in the picture above. Jon started as a volunteer working with our Activities Manager — Mike Hallam.  That was over 25 years ago and he has been involved almost every week since then !   We initially used his skills as a professional photographer to champion our activities work and publicise it in our “Roundabout” magazine.

Over the years he will have taken thousands of photographs of our residents and he quickly became a fixture in the activities team. His contribution has been immense and he went on to hone his journalistic abilities by writing the “Meet Cleaver” pages in the Extralife magazine.  Each one of these is a thoughtfully researched story of the life of an ExtraCare resident. There cannot be a better example of what a volunteer can contribute to an organisation and I pay tribute to him for every hour he has given to ExtraCare, and for the joy he has brought to hundreds of residents lives.

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10 Responses to ExtraCare Traditions – Jon Cleaver – R.I.P.

  1. begethers says:

    Thank you for sharing the inspiring traditions of the Extracare family. I love the essence of what you share – what comes through for me is hope, humanity, playfulness and connection. My mum loved her first couple of years at The Rose Garden in Hereford and still speaks about meeting you on ‘induction’ – a wonderful experience in itself. Sadly she has been forced to retire as a result of an injury and she has shared her feeling with current leaders re a loss of values – I suspect you have heard this from others too. It is so difficult to maintain the spirit of values driven cultures in the madness of competition and regulation, with deep gratitude – Andy

    • john graham says:

      It was a great journey to have travelled with an inspiring group of residents, staff and volunteers. I am glad your mother enjoyed her part in it, please pass on my regards and best wishes to her.
      Values are in the soul and less obviously on the balance sheet or in regulations. Nonetheless I believe strong values and pursuit of excellence are the most important issue in the care of older people.
      I am sure you continue to emphasise this in you consultancy work.

  2. PDHulme says:

    May I add my thanks and gratitude for the work that Jon has done in his extraordinary ‘career’ at ExtraCare. I had countless discussions with Jon on every conceivable topic but what I remember most was his depth of knowledge and commitment to sharing the stories of resident’s.

    The fact Jon has done so much as a volunteer is a true testament to his character and I am privileged to call him both colleague and friend.

  3. mmogan says:

    I remember Jon C with much fondness – as I started working full-time for Extra Care some 25 years (or so) ago too! I will always remember my time with EC with pride and with gratitude to you, John G, for giving me my first “break”. The ethos behind EC has lived long in my heart and mind and it was at the top of our agendas when planning care for my mum. Best, Michael

  4. John, I note the high regard and respect you had for Jon, and have today for his memory. I trust you carry your many images of Jon for many a day in the future. There are times when five minutes with ones thoughts are more precious and personal than time with survivors, who may not have shared your experiences of life and work, and yet believe in what you and your friends and colleagues initiated as a vision of what life can be, or attained in ones older years.

    • john graham says:

      Many thanks for your thoughts David. As a volunteer yourself in ExtraCare you will appreciate how important volunteers are to the vision and model we had for later life.
      Jon Cleaver was the best example we could possibly have hoped for in the Central Team.

  5. Phill Hulme says:

    This is very sad news. Jon Cleaver was a true gentleman who epitomised the very best of ECT. I enjoyed Jon’s company immensely and we had numerous chats about a multitude of topics from Sport to Politics.

    I had an email from Jon in May last year, completely out of the blue. He wanted to tell me how thrilled he was about Leicester City’s league win and how the whole story was amazing. He had neither seen or heard from me in the last 6 years but It was great to share another sparkling conversation with him and I was touched that he remembered I was a fan.

    I will remember him.


  6. Michael says:

    Just spoke to Richard at EC about City of Culture and he mentioned Jon’s passing. A lovely, memorable guy who gave so much of his time, energy and enthusiasm: The embodiment of all that is great about our tradition of volunteering and giving back. Rest in Peace…

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