Departed Friends

World Medicine is a tiny charity and whilst that can be challenging in some ways, the benefit is that we very much feel like a family. Our volunteers are incredibly important to us, as are our graduates and indeed our sponsors and donors. Our host venues and their staff also become part of our charity's lifeblood and so the connections become deeper and more profound.

Occasionally we hear news of the passing of someone who has been connected with World Medicine in one of these ways and so this section is dedicated to the memory of people who have touched us with their compassion, commitment and generosity.

We wish never to forget them and hope that their families will be proud of how much they meant and continue to mean to us.

Mrs Valerie Willis

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Val, a long standing supporter of World Medicine. Val was a patient of Emma’s for many years, who writes the following:

Val was a lovely lady with a strong character and a high level of empathy for anyone she considered disadvantaged or suffering in anyway. I always thought this rather extraordinary since Val endured many physical challenges herself, in addition to being widowed and having to cope with a gradual erosion of her independence. The first year I went to India with World Medicine she was very keen to hear all about it and was very moved by the work that we did there. I believe that acupuncture was important to Val, as she believed it really supported her complex health issues. This motivated her to to stay interested and she often asked me when I was going back. The following year I did, and to raise funds World Medicine took on their first Kiltwalk the amazing fundraising vehicle that has continued to underpin much of our fundraising efforts. Val was one of my first sponsors and in addition sent me off to India with a bag of warm socks as she was most concerned to hear of some of the elderly ladies cold feet!

Every year after this Val would ask me when the Kiltwalk was or the Great Glencoe Challenge, another long distance walk and would always generously sponsor me. She would say “ just don’t ask me to come with you” and we would laugh at the idea of her with her Zimmer frame negotiating the devil’s staircase on the Highlands walk!

Just a few months ago she sponsored me one last time for the Chaparda Challenge with another generous donation. Sadly, after a short illness she died at the end of August. She will be much missed by many including me but I also wanted to acknowledge her unstinting support and generosity to us at World Medicine. Go peacefully Val!

Yvonne Barr

Mike Freeman, former Chair of Trustees at World Medicine, has written a moving tribute to Yvonne Barr, who recently died.

30 August 2021 - World Medicine is sad to share the news that Yvonne Barr died a few weeks ago.

Yvonne was instrumental in saving WM from closing down and along with Graham Bentley, who was seconded from American Express, developed and implemented many policies and procedures that still support the administrative function of WM today.

Between the years of  2010- 2015 Yvonne took on the role of voluntary Secretary, and brought to WM her wealth of knowledge and expertise in the voluntary and charitable sectors. 

Yvonne’s enthusiasm and imagination initiated 2 charity bicycle rides from London to Paris and she joined in and on one!  She also initiated other fundraising events including an Art Auction in Cork Street, London and a wine tasting evening held in Harrogate. 

We will miss her energy, her huge sense of adventure and her deep heart of compassion. 

We thank Yvonne for ensuring, through her years of hard work, that WM continues and flourishes as we see today. 

Our love and thoughts go to her daughter Lizzie and her family. 

Thank you Yvonne, it was a privilege to have walked and cycled this path of life together.

Mike Freeman

Ramesh Shah

It is with a very heavy heart that we must also inform you of the sad news of the passing of our dear friend Ramesh Shah. (Covid-19). Ramesh had volunteered with us as a translator for the Chaparda project in both 2018 and 2019 along with his wife, Krishangi. May his soul rest in peace!

We would like to convey our deepest condolences to his wife,Krishangi, his family and friends.

Phil Montgomery adds the following:

I worked alongside Ramesh in the male acupuncture clinic at Jayambe Hospital in Chaparda in 2018 and 2019. He assisted me as a translator and we became friends.

Ramesh worked very hard in the clinic always keen to help and go the extra mile. He demonstrated a firm kindness with the patients tackling his role with diligence and a light touch of humour that was always appreciated. Overall he was a gentleman and an absolute pleasure to be around. All of World Medicine will miss him and I will hold fond memories of my time with him. I wish my condolences to Krishangi and his family and friends.

Ramesh and Krishangi Shah with the World Medicine Team in 2018 (click the photo for a larger image)


In January 2020, when we arrived at the ashram to begin our acupuncture camp we were deeply shocked and saddened to learn that our dear friend Chandrabhai had passed away. He was a wonderful man who looked after us at the ashram with good humour, kindness and patience! Chandrabhai was always one of the first faces we would see on arrival in Chaparda and he would almost be as excited as us as he effortlessly carted our heavy bags up the stairs and got us all organised. He was utterly reliable and diligent in his work, keeping all ashram guests supplied with water, spare lightbulbs and providing the most amazing laundry service that many of us had ever experienced! Chandrabhai was literally our go to man for everything. He fixed sunglasses, shoes, dripping taps and everything in between. He was a true friend to many world medicine volunteers over the past few years and to say that we were heartbroken to learn of his death is not an exaggeration. People like Chandrabhai help shape the experiences of our time in Chaparda and for that we will always be both humbled and grateful.

We will miss him greatly.