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March 29, 2016

Couple meets Archbishop Tutu on 21st Anniversary Trip

tutuAn anniversary is always a special time for couples but for Steve Ludlow and Geoffrey Taylor their 21st proved to be particularly memorable.

The pair, who live in Station Road, Henley, were in South Africa to renew their vows when they were introduced to Desmond Tutu, the 85-year-old retired Anglican bishop and human rights campaigner, while making arrangements for the ceremony.

The men first met at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on March 6, 1995, so they returned to celebrate.

Steve, 59, says: “We explained in an email what we wanted to do.”

“We met in the cathedral in 1995 and obviously life has moved on a great deal since then. Who would have thought we could marry each other?”

“We went down to the cafe to meet the dean and there was Desmond Tutu, who needs no introduction.”

“I’m fairly mouthy at the best of times but I was thunderstruck because I couldn’t believe I was being introduced to this elder statesman.”

“Who would believe two guys from Henley would get to meet someone like that? We sat down and had a chat, which was mind-blowing. We talked about the fact Geoffrey and I had met in the cathedral 21 years before and we told him about where we lived and what we wanted to do and he said all that sounded fine by him.”

“His daughter married her female partner in Amsterdam not too long ago.”

“He said ‘unfortunately, I’m away, otherwise I’d come along!’ I think he understood how we felt, what we wanted to do and why St George’s is such a special place to us. You don’t usually expect to find a husband in a cathedral! He said ‘the cathedral is about bringing people together’.”

“I’ve never, ever met anyone like that. People say ‘did you have a good holiday?’ and we reply ‘we’ve only got the one photo’ and when they say ‘what a shame’ we show it to them and they say ‘oh, wow’.”

The couple had a civil ceremony at Henley Registry Office in 2009 and last year were married there.

Source: Henley Standard

March 22, 2016

Finding Peace in a Violent World

I woke up this morning to the news of yet another horrific terrorist attack. This attack is the second attack in a major European city in less than a week (the first being in Istanbul on Saturday). This doesn’t even begin to address the violence millions are faced with on a constant basis every day.

I am in the business of peace. But some days I have to be honest, I see the news and the overwhelming deluge of violence, of sexism, of the destruction of our planet, and I question if there is anything that I can do that can really make a difference. I mean, who am I to be able to make change?

And that may be true. Perhaps as an individual, I can only hope to make a tiny difference — but I still try to do that every day.

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“We are one” chalk messages written outside the Brussels Stock Exchange/Photo @nigauw on Instagram

Because what happens when, as an individual, I team up with other individuals to make a difference? How much power can I have to affect change if I work with others toward this collective goal, this goal of peace?

At the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, inspiring people to work together to create peace in this world is the primary goal of our Peace3 program. As our founder Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said, “We are made for goodness, we are made for love…”. What does that mean? None of us, not one of us is born hating or discriminating against another. Children are taught racism. They are taught to discriminate or to be sexist or selfish or violent.

The wonderful thing, the thing that gives me hope, is that young people can be untaught these things. Learned behavior can be unlearned. But it takes all of us. We need to start taking responsibility and working to inspire peace. We need to start in our communities, in our homes, in our families — and we need to start within ourselves.