Martin Saunders pays tribute to a giant in the world of youthwork

Pip Wilson

Pip Wilson was a youthworker whose passion for serving young people and blessing anyone he came across made him stand out. His journey began with the YMCA, where he dedicated his time and energy to making a positive impact on the lives of young people. His authorship of youth works book were a source of inspiration and guidance for countless youth workers, educators, and mentors worldwide. Perhaps best known was ‘The Blob Tree’, which was a tool to facilitate conversations and discuss emotions.On his website he wrote: Pip Wilson is a fragile beautiful human person (BHP) disguised as an author of 20 books (lost count)about inner city youth work with young offenders, east-end youth gangs, teams of BHP’s but also oozing Games & exercises used worldwide as communication and development tools for life and eternity.Became an adult aged 40. 

blob tree

Pip was a regular contributor to Youthwork magazine and the former editor, Martin Saunders pays tribute to his life.

I first met Pip Wilson 20 years ago; he invited me to have breakfast with him in a wonderfully idiosyncratic cafe in the West End. We became friends and to an extent, collaborators - and he became a sort of mentor to me, opening my young evangelical eyes to the fact that there were Christians who cared passionately about young people, way beyond the narrow boundaries I knew.

While not everyone in the youth work world will know his name, he was - and will remain - a GIANT of our sector. His impact on generations of people - young and old - will echo through eternity. His greatest gift to the world wasn’t the Blob Tree (a tool so ubiquitous that people no longer realise who they’re ripping off when they recreate it!), but making everyone he met feel, special, valued, lovable and loved, even when they couldn’t quite love themselves. Perhaps he said the words of his catchphrase - “you are beautiful” - a million times. It never got old, because he knew that some people needed to hear it a lot before they believed him. He made me believe it.

I dug out the words of his last message to me, at the turn of the year. As ever, he re-christened me, and everyone else, and himself, with that acronym for Beautiful Human Person:

Thanx Martin BHP
I have cancer
And making the world beautiful.
Thanx for the memory of our encounter.
Stay beautiful

Pip, you were a Beautiful Human Person. Perhaps one of the most beautiful of all. Rest in Peace, Rise In Glory…and Stay Beautiful.