Remembering Paul Bailey

February 04, 2019
Rayne Stroebel

The Eden Alternative has lost a vital part of our global family – Paul Bailey, Eden Educator and Mentor in the UK. Paul and his wife, June, founded the Eden Alternative UK & Ireland in 2005.  Together, they made a beautiful team – truly committed to changing the world. Paul was a grounded, thoughtful, and principled man who brought smiles to the faces of many with his humor. In addition to impacting the lives of Elders in the UK and Ireland, Paul played a significant role in the introduction of The Eden Alternative to South Africa. Here, Rayne Stroebel, Eden Alternative Regional Coordinator in South Africa, pays tribute to our dear friend, Paul.

It was in the foyer of a little boutique hotel in Oxford that I first met Paul and June. I was over in the UK for a conference, when I had first heard about The Eden Alternative. I had sent them an email, and the next thing, we had an appointment to meet. In what was to become one of our common loves, Paul arrived in a bright shirt with even brighter socks. I liked him immediately! My friend Sara and I were taken through the Ten Principles of The Eden Alternative at the speed of light – the deal was done. A week later, I was back on a plane to the UK to do my first Certified Eden Associate Training.

It was in the next few days that I really got to know Paul and June, not only as trainers, but as dear friends. Paul had a wicked sense of humor that could make me laugh from my belly. He was sharp as a razor, with a gentle introverted demeanor. His wit is as sharp as his intellect. Soon after my initial training, Paul and June came for an extended trip to South Africa to help me set up The Eden Alternative, and we traveled together for more than 3000 kilometers. (There is nothing like getting to know someone really well on a road trip together.)

I soon learned that there was a lot more to Paul than bright shirts and socks. In a business meeting, Paul would quickly cut to the chase, after making sure that he has listened very carefully. There was no room for sloppy thinking – Paul will gently point out that your thinking was less than sharp! On one of our visits to an extremely poor, rural care home in KwaZulu Natal, Paul and June disappeared and were suddenly not behind me anymore. I went looking everywhere, only to find the two of them behind a wall in a bathroom – both in floods of tears.

Paul was easily moved by many things. On many occasions, I only needed to look at him to know that he was deeply touched by something. It quickly showed in his eyes, and he was never shy to show his emotions.

As a trainer, Paul was an excellent storyteller – he loved sharing the wonderful stories of Eden and how it opened hearts and minds. He often referred to himself as not having a clue what he was doing, yet I think Paul touched more hearts and minds than he would ever have believed possible.

A gentle soul has departed this earth. A man that we can salute for his generosity of spirit, his energy and willingness to always help others, but mostly for his gentle love of June and their shared world. It made me so happy to see that he enjoyed every day of his life, even though his health was a challenge. Mostly through Facebook, I saw his exquisite needlepoint work, the fluffy dog that became part of the family, and seeing him learn to play the piano and become very good at it.

There is a huge gap where once walked a gentle man.

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12 Comments. Leave new

Laura Beck, The Eden Alternative
February 4, 2019 9:08 am

My first encounter with Paul was when he and June attended an Eden at Home training I was facilitating in Ohio back in 2008. We quickly made a very sweet connection that I will never forget. I will also never forget a windy day in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado just after the 2010 Eden Alternative International Conference in Denver. My son and I had just made a jeep ride to the top of a mountain peak in the park. Horribly afraid of heights, the road edged harrowing drops and the winds were topping 50 miles an hour in our open jeep. I was a wreck by the time we reached the visitor’s center at the very top. The first faces I saw there were Paul and June, warm, receptive, and incredibly comforting. It was at that moment that I began to call them my “English mum and dad”. They helped get me to a place where I could climb back in that jeep and go all the way back down that mountain. I will miss your warmth and directness Paul. I always knew where I stood with you… and that kind of clarity is so essential for my well-being. All my love…

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Kris Angevine
February 4, 2019 9:26 am

It sounds like your presence and influence has stretched far and wide Paul. Although I did not know you personally, I thank you for your dedication and candid approach to changing the world we live in. Great love is a rarity and it seems like you and June were quite the pair. My peace to your family during this time.

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Thank you Rayne, for capturing those beautiful parts of Paul that I remember (and some that I didn’t know). Such a wise and wonderful human being. Bill and I had often commented that Paul and June were who we wanted to be when we grow up! Their love for each other and their passion for the Eden Alternative impacted us all. He will be deeply missed, but his legacy will live on. Love to you June.

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A life-friend has left his wife, but as we know Paul we are sure he will be by June´s side anyway.
Both Paul and June have been in our Danish Eden-lives always, and we are so grateful for that!
From the moment we first met in Switzerland you totally unselfish gave us all your material as inspiration to the Danish Eden-way.
We have had several talks during the years, and together we have contributed to the arrangement of European Eden conferences during the years.
Thank you for your always being ready to help us when needed.
It is so strange and sad that Paul will now be missing in this community.
We feel thankful and lucky for having been gifted by his big wisdom and sense of humor, and he will always be in our hearts and minds.
It has been such a wonderful experience to know him, and we are looking forward to many more times with you June who together with Paul made Eden in UK possible and to what it is today.
Huge and warm hugs Karin and Aase, Eden Denmark

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What a lovely tribute to an equally lovely man. Peace and Love to June….Sue

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Paul was a true pioneer of the culture change movement. He and June have had great success in the UK and have been such a great support to others as the seeds were planted in new countries. We will remember Paul with great fondness, not only for his colourful shirts, but as a grounded and principled person who was always there to quietly support all of us. Sending love to June, Cheryl George and Suellen Beatty, Eden Alternative in Western Canada.

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What a memorable tribute to a memorable unique man. Wish you massive love and strength June.
Diana

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Jill Vitale-Aussem
February 4, 2019 3:27 pm

Such a beautiful tribute, Rayne. I feel fortunate to have known Paul for even a short time. He was an incredibly wise, principled and dedicated man. His work has made a difference in the lives of so many.

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khagenedenaltorg
February 4, 2019 5:41 pm

Thank you, Rayne. You depicted Paul so well. My memories of him also highlight his quick humor and his ability to take an idea that has gone around a discussion and cut to the chase with few words, capturing the essence in a concise and meaningful way. He was a beautiful man and he will be missed.
Love to you, June. May he walk beside you every day and give you strength.

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Thank you Rayne, for taking up the mantel to share our collective thoughts on the passing of Paul Bailey. I had the good fortune to catch up with both he and June Burgess in Australia in the past few years, and we had great discussions about the similarities and differences of the implementation of the Eden Alternative in both countries. Paul had the ability to ‘cut to the chase’ when we were waffling or needing to come to a decision. An absolute breath of fresh air.

Our last EARC gathering in Kempen (2017) with the challenges of English and German interpretations, remains one of my fondest and funniest memories – slow down please!!! Paul will be missed in our Eden family. He was one of the early Eden global pioneers with June, his partner in life and love. All our love and thoughts go to June and their extended family. We are family.

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slopewriteFiona McCracken
February 5, 2019 3:47 am

Reading your lovely tributes to Paul reminded me of a saying,

” There are those whose lives affect all others around them. Quietly touching one heart, who in turn, touches another. Reaching out to ends further than they would ever know”. WILLIAM BRADFIELD

Yesterday at Paul’s funeral it was clear the impact his life had on others, not only his family and friends, but for the many people whose lives have been changed by his passion for life and by his vision of Eden. Paul will be missed so much by everyone who knew him, those who had the pleasure to work with him, and by people whose lives have improved because of him. HIs legacy will continue here in the UK through the Eden family, continuing to touch hearts in Paul’s memory.. RIP. xx

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Silke Nachtwey
February 7, 2019 6:31 am

Many thanks to Rayne for this memorable description of a man whose life he has used faithfully with much love and support for other people. He and June give help wherever it is needed with an even bigger heart.
Dear June, feel hugged at this difficult time.

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