Tributes paid to Stevenage community stalwart who ‘loved to help people’

Bill Pilgrim, from Stevenage, passed away last week aged 69. Picture: INS

Bill Pilgrim, from Stevenage, passed away last week aged 69. Picture: INS - Credit: Archant

Tributes have flown in for a dearly loved member of the Stevenage community who sadly died last week.

Irish Network Stevenage confirmed the news on Friday that trustee and friend, Bill Pilgrim, has sadly passed away aged 69.

Luke Donovan, chair of the Irish Network Stevenage (INS), hailed Bill as “an integral part of the charity,” and a man who “helped shape the support offered to the most vulnerable members of the community”.

“He had a great understanding of what people needed and was always the one that would go and make things happen,” Luke said.

In 1956, Bill’s family moved to Stevenage, and after a period working as a decorator, Bill went into youth work helping vulnerable teenagers and children with additional needs.

Bill met his future wife Margaret in 1975 and they were married a year later. Even in retirement, Bill “still loved to help people and learn new things,” Luke added, and he became a valuable volunteer and trustee of the Irish Network.

“He learnt about what happens behind the scenes in the running of a charity, and how vital our charities are in our communities today. He would quite often represent the INS at community functions meeting other charities, members of the council or other organisations.”

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Bill was also vice-chair for the local arm of charity Age Concern, and helped as an outreach volunteer running local coffee meetings. He was a proud member of the British Legion, and would attend their meetings regularly, helping with the Remembrance poppy collections.

“Bill was always the first one to offer to help and gave so much time to the community,” Luke said. “On a personal note, I considered Bill a good friend, someone who led with his heart and was an inspiration to me and many others – he will be greatly missed.”

Prominent members of the Stevenage community have also been remembering Bill this week. Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor called his death “such a loss for our town,” and offered her sincere condolences to Bill’s family.

“My thoughts are with you all, Margaret and family, and all his dear friends and family at INS – I know how much he meant to you.” Citizens Advice Stevenage called Bill “a wonderful man who will be sorely missed.”