Andrew Wyndham Celebration fo Life

Farewell, Andrew Wyndham, We Will Miss You!

Last week, our community celebrated the life of Andrew Wyndham, who passed in February and has been a big part of our community for many years. 

Andrew’s family joined us for the celebration, including his brother Nick and his sister-in-law, Claire, who kindly told us many stories and photos from his early years. 

Our Registered Manager (Care & Support), Tom Bridle, led the celebration presentation. Our CEO, Tim, led the sharing of community memories of Andrew, and Csilla and Destiny reflected on their time with him as House Coordinators for Oberlin, where Andrew lived. We heard from Vikki, Andrew’s most recent key worker, and Christine, who manages the house where he lived. 

We shared lots of pictures and videos and played some of Andrew’s favourite music, and it was great to see so many people in blue, Andrew’s favourite colour, and the owl decorations around our theatre.

About Andrew

Andrew James Wyndham was born on August 22, 1966, three weeks after England won the World Cup, in Wolverhampton, the eldest of three sons to Julia and Colin Wyndham. The family initially resided in Stourbridge, Worcester, where Andrew attended a playgroup alongside his brother Phillip while Nicholas was still an infant.

When Andrew turned five, the family relocated to Shrewsbury, where he attended the local infant school for mornings as directed by the education authorities. Subsequently, he joined the Katherine Elliot Special School, which also served as an assessment unit.

At the age of nine, Andrew moved to a small Rudolf Steiner school in Chelmarsh, Shropshire, situated in a picturesque Georgian Vicarage under the guidance of Mrs Kathleen Smalley. This school had close ties with the Sheiling, where Dr. Lotta, the medical director, closely monitored Andrew’s progress. 

His journey continued as he transitioned to various living arrangements within the Sheiling Community. From Folly Farm cottage to Hillcrest and later Dell House, Andrew formed strong bonds with his house parents and peers, finding solace and companionship along the way.

Upon reaching his mid-twenties, the search for a permanent home in Camphill began. After trials at Folly Farm and the Grange, Andrew found his place in Milton Keynes in the spring of 1993. Initially residing in Oberlin, he moved to Soltane and eventually settled in MP House before returning to Oberlin, where he lived his years.

Throughout his life, Andrew grappled with worries and fears, but he found solace, support, and love among his many friends in the Milton Keynes community, where he actively contributed to community life.

Andrew’s genuine interest lay in the lives of others; when asked about his own activities, his usual response was a humble ‘nothing’. However, his life was far from idle!

  • He experienced the thrill of driving an Aston Martin. 
  • Andrew proudly marched in the Queen’s Jubilee Parade, passing by Her Majesty and the royal family, an event broadcasted on the BBC.
  • He was also featured on Turkish television in 2010.
  • He displayed diverse skills, from crafting baskets and pottery to baking bread, growing vegetables, sewing clothing, weaving, and playing musical instruments. 
  • Andrew embarked on adventures in various countries, including Brazil, Canada, France, and the United States.
  • He went to Disneyland and met Mickey Mouse and Goofy.
  • He spent a day as a zookeeper, fearlessly feeding lions. 
  • Andrew dedicated himself to fundraising for numerous charities. 
  • His love for steamtrains led him to ride many across the UK.

Despite enduring the loss of his father in 2007 and his mother in 2010, Andrew found solace in maintaining strong bonds with his brothers in Romsey and the Isle of Wight and his Auntie Carol & Uncle David in Norfolk. Family gatherings, particularly during the cherished holiday of Christmas, held a special significance for him. Additionally, Andrew treasured his relationship with Cousin John in Canada, with whom he communicated regularly and cherished the time they spent together.

We heard from Tom Bridle, Registered Manager (Care & Support)

andrew & tom

The extract is taken from Andrew’s life celebration, written by Tom. 

“I first met Andrew six years ago when I joined Camphill. Everyone who met Andrew knows how easy it was to warm up to him and how quickly he made an impression. He was a big character with so much personality and such a unique way of communicating. Andrew had an incredible sense of humour and loved laughing and telling jokes. He occasionally liked to see how far he could push our professional boundaries, too! I loved working with Andrew, and he never failed to make me laugh on the occasions we spent time together. Usually when he’d pretend to be me and put on a theatrically deep voice to emphasise that he was, in fact, me. 

Andrew was autistic but embodied everything that can be so wonderful about autism, as we’ve explored in recent days within the community for Autism Awareness Week. He was deeply passionate about his particular interests: trains, owls, cars, and history. Andrew wasn’t afraid to be himself, to be different in all the best ways. He was also genuinely curious about people and took the time to know and understand the people in our lives. He’d always ask after your husband, wife, or kids and had an excellent memory for details. 

When he put his mind to something, he produced the most fantastic work. His way of seeing and understanding the world had this amazing, innocent quality. Even though it came with challenges, he definitely found his place at Camphill, where he was accepted, nurtured, and very much loved by the many hundreds, probably thousands, of people who’ve come and gone over the years but will likely always remember him. 

It’s difficult for me to express the depth of the loss we’ve all felt in the community since he passed away. I want to pass on my sincere thanks to all of the staff who’ve supported Andrew over the years. There are too many to list, but many of them have attended today, as each had a role in supporting him in living an extraordinary life here. Particularly, I wanted to thank the staff who cared for Andrew since his diagnosis late last year- it took a tremendous amount of work to adapt our support and his environment to allow him to remain at home, and Pennyland has a young team that hadn’t had a vast amount of experience in this type of care- despite this, they rose to the challenge, pulled together and made his last few months comfortable, peaceful and Andrew had a steady stream of visitors from the community and beyond. Andrew’s family was a massive support throughout his life, too. 

But mostly, I wanted to thank Andrew for all the light and joy he brought into our lives and how he could make your day a little bit brighter.”

We will ALL miss you!

For thise who wish to see more photos, read more stories or support Andrew’s family, please visit their tribute page HERE.

Categories Autism/Camphill History/Camphill life/Charity/Learning Disabilities/News/Residents/Staff & Volunteers

Post Author: Alicja McCarthy