I have just read your tribute to Terry Butkeraitis and I am not embarrassed to say, I shed a tear.
I’m 36 years old now and first met Terry when I was a spotty 12 year old.
Terry was an asset to every young person he came into contact with. At that time young people from Kilton attended Valley Comprehensive and unfortunately because a lot of us at school came from backgrounds of unemployment, were bullied for being the school’s so-called Poor Relatives.
Working with Terry he taught us different. He taught us confidence, values, respect for ourselves and others and more importantly, he made sure we knew we always had a choice, yes, no, right or wrong.
I smile when I think back to the nights we spent camping at Laneham, when all our tents flooded and there was 16 of us in Terry’s camper van telling each other ghost stories.
Terry’s sense of humour was hilarious. In the summer he wore an old green vest with holes in. When we were all going to the cinema one night, we asked him to change his top. He refused because he said, it was his war vest! It was his memento from fighting in the jungle in the Korean War. We believed him until he got carried away with his stories! Even when we went to Lithuainia in 1995, it was like going back in time and simple things like getting water out of a well and using the toilet outside was a culture shock to a group of 16 year olds.
It was not just Terry who cared, his whole family took us under their wing. All the girls could chat to his wife Christine who had a medical background and his daughter Lisa bought her horse to the youth club to see if we wanted to learn to ride.
When Kilton Youth Club was threatened with closure, Terry taught us about ownership. The county council had posters up saying ‘This is your Youth Club’, so we got together and confronted the bosses and we won!
My life is definitely richer for having had Terry as an influence. My deepest sympathies go to all his extended family and everyone will miss him.
Terry Butkeraitis was and is a hero, a gentleman and a genuine kind, caring man who will be missed by many, including me. Rest in Peace Terry. Send my love to my dad for me Terry, love you mate.