Thank you, thank you everyone

May Day has arrived. It is one month one from the open mic testimonial in my name. I would like to take a moment to revisit that special and treasured event and the incredible effort and generosity around it.

I was, I remain, truly humbled at the gift provided by the good people of this community.
A dozen and more performers. Over three times that number in the audience and / or ‘sponsoring’ the event.

@brianlarsen @DavidP @KevinKevan @tRONd @grayal @adi_mrok @iainism @Rossco01 @pikeamus @liaty @TheMadman_tobyjenner @Mari63 @Rod58 @CT @LievenDV @batwoman @bigbird @ChasetheDream @crocodile1 @DarrellW @Digger72 @glpguitar @Gregba @J.W.C @John_in_Dot @Jozsef @JustinGuitar @kontenda @LBro @Majik @max_mue @MikeSebastianP @pkboo3 @R.F.W @redrhodie @roger_holland @Rumil @sairfingers @SandyMusic @Sarahsus2 @RomanS @sclay @SgtColon @skinnyt @Socio @SS7 @stitch @Strummer_of_69 @Thejoechoi @theoldman66 @Tom_B @Willsie01
I hope I have not missed anyone with an @ tag.

Brian made the fundraiser announcement at the start of the evening and when he mentioned the total amount … Holy cow. Just wow. That is a whole lot of people putting their hands in their pockets and gifting some hard-earned £ or $ or or or kr and whatever currency people use in their homelands.

To those who have known me for a long, long time, dating back years in the old forum, to people who have just recently joined here, I say once more, a large and heartfelt thanks. I was moved to tears before, during and after the open mic night itself. The video Brian posted from The Burning Hell brought more tears to my eyes multiple times whenever I viewed it and showed it to family and friends.

I would like to provide you all with a little of the back story. Much of this is already known by some folks here.

I first registered on the JustinGuitar Forum December 27, 2008. At that time I was on the cusp of discovering the fact that the internet was home to people across the globe sharing lessons and tutorials for guitar. A new world opened to me and I had a new purpose to brush up my skills and learn some new tricks. I found JustinGuitar soon into that journey of discovery and have been hanging around ever since. I found a home and friends in the forum and hung out there regularly, daily. I was made a moderator over ten years ago and increased my involvement in the ‘pay-it-forward’ stakes. I would spend hours each week helping others, writing helpful comment, supportive critque and more. By the time the forum closed I had written over 16,000 posts, more than 3 / day. Many friends moved on (as is the way with forums), others came along. I greeted each new face with what I hoped was the same welcoming and positive spirit of friendship and encouragement. I never did it for the pay back, just for the gift of giving and the satisfaction of being able to offer something to others.

This voluntary moderator role was something I did in my spare time. My full-time work was as a school Maths teacher. In November 2017 that all changed. I succumbed to an acute and extreme laryngitis. Within the space of one afternoon I lost the ability to speak altogether. I was off work and undergoing speech therapy for several months. My employer lost patience and managed me out with an NDA tightly wrapped and signed.
In May 2018 I decided never to set foot in another classroom as a school teacher. I was convinced stress had caused my condition - the job was putting too much pressure on my mental and physical wellbeing.
I put my health and happiness ahead of remuneration. I took a massive pay cut and loss of employment rights to teach children in care through a local authority. This was done via an agency on a zero-hours contract basis with no holiday pay, no sickness pay, no security of tenure and an income that was about 40% below my pay as a teacher. And given that teacher salaries were never amazing and have been effectively frozen since 2010 in England, that meant a rather modest income indeed. But I loved my work, I was good at it and I was making a massive difference to many vulnerable and deprived children. I supplemented my earnings by teaching private students on evenings (Maths and some guitar).

Then, a few months ago, due to complicated reasons including funding, my work was terminated and I was given just a few days notice to leave. I mentioned it to some friends here in the community. That prompted a hairy fella and a few other hairy folk to exchange messages and hatch a plan for a fundraiser - in my honour, to help me through a financial difficulty and to give me a celebratory event to mark the occasion.

At the open mic, when the mic was handed to me to speak (and perform) I almost made a crass remark about the monies raised which would probably not have been funny, and most certainly would not have been respectful. Some comment about the money being sufficient to pay my gas & electricity bill this month crossed my mind. Borne of being quite taken aback and lost for words I am sure. I am glad I kept the words within. I feel it is okay to mention them now and hope no-one is offended at the cheap gag.
For context, energy prices for domestic consumers rocketed by about 50% in the UK on the 1st of April.

What the money has done and will do, is provide a buffer for the weeks that I struggle to find paid work. I did have an immediate loss when the old job ended. Fortunately I have pieced together enough paid hours from multiple sources to earn money week by week for the time being. I still have some private Maths students. I gained online Maths teaching through a national covid-catch-up tuition scheme. I have acquired some guitar students thanks to Justin’s Approved Teacher scheme. And, thanks to the enormous and kind spirit of Justin himself, I have some paid ‘behind-the-scenes’ work in the Justinguitar team too. Four jobs and I’m okay. When June / July come round and the school year ends, I need to reassess. Then, beyond that is more uncertain. I’m coming up 57 years-old. I don’t want to be filling in application forms and going for interviews. So, if I can I will continue to do freelance work such as I have been these last couple of months, working from home and setting my own agenda. And having a cuppa whenever I want! haha

Gosh, I seem to have rambled on somewhat. If you made it to here, I thank you all over again.

And I shall close by directing you to this, recorded courtesy of Brian.

Love, hugs, gratitude and more. Richard


Thank you for your whole story Richard,…I wish you all the best of course. You are greatly appreciated here as you have received…
Greetings with deep bow, Rogier :bouquet:

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Hi Richard, I’m just a very beginner, hanging around in this community, I didn’t join the open mic event as a performer or in the audience, didn’t notice the campaign, as I didn’ t read the posts concerning the open mics.
What a great idea from people around here to help others.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the community in this great openness. We all have to manage difficult phases from time to time, but sometimes, I ask myself, for what reason it always hits the wrong persons. Each existential crisis is taking a lot of personnel strenght, so I really hope you have enough energy to come through.
I don’t know you personally, but I really appreciate all your well-founded and helpful comments in this community. Your effort helps others, like me, to learn a lot just by reading, and I’m really thankful for that.
So I hope, and I’m sure you will find your way through the stormy conditions. Keep your head up and keep on playing…

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Richard, you’ve been a constant source of encouragement and support to me from the moment you replied to my first PMed question about the Forum. I’m beyond grateful and was honoured to be part of the testimonial. I wish you well, the best.

@roger_holland Thank you my friend.


That is an especially kind comment coming as it does from someone new who, as you say, doesn’t know me. Thank you so much.

@DavidP You always have been and continue to be a model student and a beacon of all that is good in this community. Thank you.


Lovely post Richard and so glad to see that people here managed to step up and help/entertain such an honoured member of Community - don’t thank us all Richard we THANK YOU for always being around :slight_smile:


The OM was a well deserved accolade. I hope you managed make a go of freelancing long term. Thanks for all your work for the community.


Wow, Richard. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a trying time and a potential life opportunity as well. Not easy and not without stress at all.

I was not part of the OM and wasn’t aware enough to contribute, but am glad the community could step in and help and share with you the appreciation we have for your attention, presence and guidance here.

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Richard, thank you for being so open and sharing the entire story. I was aware of some parts of it but not in its entirety. You’ve always been a massive support to everyone on this forum and I assume you’ve been the same to all your students in “the real world”.

And as the song by Burning Hell says - you’ve got friends here at JustinGuitar :slight_smile:.

All the best Richard!

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Richly deserved support for all that you have given us, no need for thanks.

Well said Richard and thank you for sharing. It’s good to hear you’ve got a positive plan and glad we could step up as friends to help out in your time of need.

Thanks for sharing your story Richard.

I definitely realized as soon as I landed here that you’re someone always willing to help all new comers, giving good and constructive feedback. I’m sure we all profit a lot of your expertise and good mood so I can only wish all this situation works out in a way you still can put your happiness before anything else.

Cheers and all the best… and rock on! :metal::guitar:

We should be thanking you Richard for the time and energy you put into helping everyone, especially those of us that are still getting to grasp the simplest of things. Your knowledge and experience is second to none, so any help that we can give you in return is very small compared to your input.

Wishing you all the best with your future employment Richard.
You deserve every accolade.
I can only speak for myself but you have been an incredible help with my musical development.
I hope we never lose you from this community.
I expect I’ll be along with more obscure questions very soon! :joy:
A heartfelt thank you for everything you do :+1:

@Richard_close2u , you are the man. I would follow you to the outskirts and ends of the interwebs. You could have given me the boot early on for my combativeness and overall demeanor. But you hung in there with me and continue to uplift and support this thing that I do. I call it music, others claim that i’m too stupid to be embarrassed. Here I am still standing (so to speak) – thanks to you in large part. Love and respect, sir!


The warmth and positivity of this community never ceases to amaze me! I’m very sorry to hear about your circumstances, Richard. Hang in there, friend!