Monday, January 09, 2017

Vale Brian Rudd Pitt St Mall Shoe shine

It was inspiring at Christmas time to read this tweet from Father Bob...

"full of resilience and gratitude"

   Brian was a well known 'shoeshine' in Sydney who I often saw and very occasionally spoke to in Pitt St Mall over many years. It was humbling and fascinating to have heard Father Bob speak of Brian's story and background at a fundraising dinner for the South Sydney Herald.
   Brian had been a ward of the state in Victoria from 3 months to 18 years of age and had moved to Sydney because he feared the drug culture in Melbourne would be his undoing. Sharp, funny and as Father Bob says "full of resilience, he slept rough or in boarding houses and didn't want charity but was happy to shine shoes and carve out a simple life in the city. He died quietly in his sleep just days after the phone call/tweet. I used to regret that I mostly wore joggers or suede shoes every time I went past Brian in the Mall.
   I had cause to share the little I knew of Brian's story with young people and other audiences over the course of a few years when talking about who makes up this world, what 'good news' might look like to different people and/or just to invite people to 'walk a mile' in the shoes of another and hear their "story of hope". I know he inspired me and caused no end of honest self reflection.
   You can read a little about Brian here and I understand that Father Bob has been rushed with offers to take Brian's ashes to the Ganges, not least of which from holiday travellers, businessmen who shined Brian's shoes and the ED of Steve Waugh's charity. I think they're still looking for pro bono transport of Brian to Melbourne for a Funeral with remaining family [his brother].

Vale Brian Rudd

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