It was with great sadness I learned of the passing of John Eastwood (pictured) after a long illness. This remarkable man gave so much of his time to support people in need in our community. It was this characteristic that earned him the title of Liverpool Citizen of the Year in 2008, for his hard work and dedication in volunteering for the Young Adults Disabled Association. John was the co-founder of YADA which does a tremendous job supporting people with disabilities in Liverpool and Fairfield. YADA runs programs twice a week to support young adults with disabilities to learn new skills, reduce their isolation, enhance their quality of life and support their careers. YADA was started 20 years ago by a couple of members of the community, John Eastwood and Jennifer McAlees, a young disabled woman. As a matter of fact, John was driving the community bus when he first met Jennifer. They started talking about doing something for people with disabilities. Since that day, John made it his mission to help Jennifer and they worked together to formally establish YADA as a charity. A lot of hard work went into setting it up, completing all the paperwork, doing the fundraising, and ensuring its financial viability through raffles, stalls and support from government agencies. It started with two members and 60 volunteers and now caters for the needs of some 40 disabled people in our community. Organisations such as YADA are so vital. Our community is forever indebted to John for his tireless efforts in establishing YADA and volunteering his time for such a great cause. YADA co-ordinator Buffy McDonald said of John: "He lived for the disabled. He strived to make this world a better place for the disabled and elderly and I think he did a pretty good job of it."
I send my deepest sympathies to John's family and loved ones, as we remember the legacy of a very caring and generous man. May he rest in peace.