Sparky has gone. RIP Mark Anthony Borrett

There’s no easy way to say this but our good friend, comrade and indeed family member Sparky Anthony has passed away recently in London.
We are not sure of all the details as yet, so please no speculation.

Sparky had a tough life but never would complain or look for some silly sympathy. His experiences uniquely enabled him to assist so many others. He knew what it was like to be without or have anything. Many recalled him recently as a kind guy with a sweet personality. He’d have hated that!

He was a simple man. Happiest stuck in a book with the headphones on. His philosophy was simply just to do what you can to help others when you can and appreciate the world around you.

He was there from the beginning of so much of our work from many of our Street Kitchens, actions and occupations and squats. From the creation of the globally recognised World Homeless Day, hosting a homeless Xmas dinner at Euston Station or to simply serving teas and coffees, food and essential supplies to those in need directly on the streets. He was everywhere.

That’s where he was most happiest, directly operating on the streets. He saw the injustices at first hand and fought hard for his brothers and sisters on the streets. His family.

He was certainly no fool, an educated man with a recent degree in youth work specialising in homelessness. He thrived in the world of academia though frustrated with the slow pace of social change and policy forming.

He was so many things to so many people whose lives he came into with a loud voice for social justice, anti-fascism and always held in his heart Palestine and other oppressed peoples wherever they were.

He will be missed, as we all expect him still just to pop up as he inevitably did when he was most needed and just make things easier with his cheeky grin and a mischievous sparkle in his eyes.

In memory of Sparky, please just take a minute and think of him and of those you may not have spoken to for a while and just say hi and see how they are getting on.

We will always remember the things we wanted to say.
Let’s just say them and keep Sparky’s tradition alive of just simply being there for others

I can only hope he has finally found the peace he fought so hard for. He has been around me for so many many years assisting others.
farewell mate, you’d laugh you’re making me cry.💔

Tiocfaidh ár lá mo chara

We will keep everyone informed of future plans as we get them

RIP
💔

 

James B. posted a beautiful tribute to our friend:

It is really hard to know where to start, but here goes.

As some of you may know, my activism work with the homeless began in 2015, when on a winter’s night, I ‘slept rough’ to raise funds for Crisis (Forgive me – I knew no better then! . During the night I was visited by two people, a lady named Heather, and a guy named Mark, but who told me his ‘real’ name was Sparky, Heather and Sparky were walking around the West End giving hot drinks, food and companionship to anyone sleeping rough who may need their support. I told them both what I was doing and that I wasn’t actually homeless, but still, they insisted on checking to see if I needed anything. I told them both that I wanted to do more hands-on work with the homeless, and so they told me about their homeless activist group Streets Kitchen. We swapped details and I promised to meet them again to see what they do, with the hope of joining them in their work.

The next day I received a message from Sparky, asking me how I had got on and reminding me about his group, so the following week I met up with Streets Kitchen in Camden, and saw how simple it really could be to just go out there and assist others. That one night inspired me into running my own outreach run in Kings Cross & Euston, then moving onto Watford, with a side order of volunteering with refugees in Greece in the middle!

Over the years that followed, I saw Sparky on a few occasions and was always struck by his passion, his determination, but most of all his empathy. Not compassion, EMPATHY! Almost anyone can be compassionate, but it takes a truly special person to be empathetic – to truly understand the pain and suffering felt by people, as opposed to just feeling sad for them. Sparky was always funny, positive and by God hard working! The man did not stop. Many a time at the Nags Head Solidarity Centre I had to dart out the way as he rushed past me balancing enough plates and cups to make a silver service waiter jealous!

The last time I saw Sparky was a couple of months ago at outreach in Hackney. As always he greeted me with a hug and excitedly told me about what he had been doing and how happy he was to be back in London (he was based in Wales) surrounded by his Streets Kitchen family. Something he said that night will always stick with me. He said ‘what people don’t understand is, this isn’t just about serving tea and coffee, it’s about talking to the guests and giving them companionship too’. It struck me that even after years of his work, he hadn’t lost an ounce of passion in his desire to make life easier and kinder for his fellow human beings. How inspirational is that?

Last week we got the sad, devastating news that Sparky had passed away. Whilst details surrounding his cause of death are vague, what is clear is that his passing is a huge loss, not only to his family friends, and comrades at Streets Kitchen, but also to the homeless man or woman in the street who will miss out on seeing that warm, cheeky smile when served their tea or coffee.

Sparky, my friend, my brother – for everything you have been, and will always be to so many people, including me – thank you from the bottom of my heart 

May you rest in eternal peace.

Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un
To God We Belong and To God We Return.

 

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