Forever Manchester’s Chief Exec Nick Massey reflected on the death of David Bowie in February’s fanzine…

On 10th January, I woke up to the news that David Bowie had died. I’m not normally one for celebrity sentiment but I felt an immediate massive sense of loss, as though a close friend had passed away.

I grew up with Bowie. I remember the look of shock on my Dad’s face when he first saw him on Top Of The Pops in 1972 probably even more so than the sheer excitement of seeing this wild rebel
vision with a shock of spikey red hair, dressed in a gold, red and blue cat-suit and gripping an electric blue 12-string guitar. It was one of those moments. To me it screamed…you don’t have to be like everybody else, you can just be yourself, you can go your own way.

And over the years as Bowie reinvented himself, his look, his musical direction and even his view of the world, his music provided punctuation marks in my own life reminding me to trust my instincts and pardon the cliché, providing a soundtrack to my own trials and tribulations.

24 hours later and thrilled by the heartfelt tributes and praise heaped on the man, I recalled a line from Quicksand off his Hunky Dory Album: “I’m not a prophet or a stone aged man, just a mortal
with potential of a superman.”

And at the risk of sounding like Swiss Tony from the Fast Show, this  thought brought me back into Forever Manchester and the thousands of people we come across each year who have the courage to use their own skills, talents and assets to create and deliver community projects across Greater Manchester.

They do stuff that might not be as well paid, sexy, high profile or critically acclaimed as their celebrity counterparts, but in my mind they’re all superheroes, getting things done by improvising, standing up and taking responsibility, caring and sharing and having the courage to fulfill their potential.

Their passion for what they do can improve health and wellbeing, build self-confidence, help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, build community cohesion, help make improvements to the areas where we live and more often than not provide a vital lifeline to those that attend.

Communities are built around this passion and by recognising the capability of everyone in them. Every project we see tells its own story, with engaging characters, personal tragedies and
achievements, we’ve got Major Toms, Ziggy Stardusts and Aladdin Sanes in every neighbourhood and if we put aside our problems and deficiencies and our songs of darkness and dismay and let the children boogie, we can all be “heroes” and help our communities thrive.

Happy 2016. Thanks for your continued, amazing support.

May your God go with you.