‘Shining light’ of housing association dies aged 78

John Baptiste of Fulwood (dec)
John Baptiste of Fulwood (dec)
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Tributes have been paid to a tenant champion and founding member of the Community Gateway Association who died last week.

John-Baptiste Babilas Felicien, who was 78, lived with his wife Margaret in CGA’s sheltered scheme at The Filberts in Fulwood, Preston.

John joined CGA’s Shadow Board in 2004, and the following year was instrumental in the transfer of housing stock from Preston City Council to create the UK’s first social housing provider to follow the principles of the Community Gateway Model.

Called a “committed community champion” by CGA staff, John then took his place on CGA’s board as one of seven tenant members and stayed on until 2012.

Diane Bellinger CGA’s chief executive said: “On behalf of tenants and colleagues I would like to express our sadness on hearing the news that John has sadly passed away.

“He was a shining light in the creation of Community Gateway Association and during his time on the board his contribution to tenants in Preston can be measured by the success of our organisation since transferring from Preston City Council in 2005.

“I along with many people will miss his enthusiasm and his sense of humour, our thoughts are with his family during this sad time.”

Irene Bailey CGA chairman said: “As the Chair of CGA, I am proud that we can continue the work that John and others have done, which has seen CGA develop into a vibrant and truly tenant led organisation.”

The father of six and grandfather of 13 died on March 28 at St Catherine’s Hospice.

His funeral will be held at Preston 7th Day Adventist Church on Monday at 11.30am.