In memory of Eric Rayner                             by Aida Alayarian, Cofounder of Refugee Therapy Centre

It is with sadness that I share news that our Patron, Eric Rayner, psychoanalyst, passed away on September 15 2016, a few weeks after his 90th Birthday.

 

Before becoming a Patron of the Refugee Therapy Centre, Eric was a Trustee, and he played an important role in founding the centre two decades ago. His respect for humanity and commitment to equality and human rights meant he was committed to providing a safe space in which people can rediscover their abilities and rebuild their confidence to be active members of the community and I, along with the other cofounders, learned much from both his written work on psychoanalysis and through talking to him. His unbiased and thoughtful contributions and helped us to develop the centre into the psychotherapeutic resource that it is today. His wife, child psychotherapist Dilys Daws, has also been a great source of support, teaching and raising our public profile.  The Freud Seasonal Greeting Card they designed together was an inspired piece of their joint humour, and has contributed to our fund-raising.

 

Eric was able to see the positive in people and situations, and was good company. He could be full of fun - making jokes about cycling in busy London – and sharing memories of the time he had worked together with fellow Trustee John Denford at the Cassel Hospital. He was also very kind; I recall his enthusiasm when he showed me the garden at his home in Hampstead, and the statues he’d made for it. I said, ‘it is labour of love’, and he offered to teach me about gardening. I can also recall him asking me in 2001 ‘what do you do after seeing very distressed patients at the Centre? How do you cope?’ with empathy.

 

Whilst in recent years Eric had become ill with Alzheimer’s, his contributions to the RTC keep him alive in our working life today. He died peacefully, at home, with his wife, Dilys Daws, at hand. We remember him with respect and fondness.

 

Photograph used with permission from Sarah Rayner

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