25 Mar 2006

Thanks from the family

Heather and family have asked the NICCY office to pass on their thanks and appreciation to the many organisations and individuals who have been in touch since Nigel’s death. They have been especially moved by the warmth of the tributes both on the websites and letters and cards from every section of the community.

Thank you

A thanksgiving service was held in London on the 4th June and the family wants to thank all those who attended the service.

Tributes and messages

"At one of my first meetings with the Commissioner his enthusiasm, dedication and solid determination were palpable. He worked tirelessly over the two and a half years he was in post to establish the office and worked steadfastly on behalf of children and young people to promote their welfare and safeguard their rights." Peter Hain, Secretary of State

"His energy and single-minded commitment to making life better for children and young people in Northern Ireland was admirable. Even through the tough times of his illness, Nigel, continued to work tirelessly and to put the interests of young people before himself." Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children in Ireland

"Nigel was a truly great man. I only knew him latterly but the support he gave me as the first Children’s Commissioner for England was invaluable. He gave me much wisdom and he and his office are role models that we are trying to emulate in England. Our thoughts are with them and I hope they are consoled by the knowledge that his life dedicated to the care of children will be his lasting memory." Al Aynsley-Green,Children’s Commissioner for England

"We will always remember Nigel as one of the most energetic, knowledgeable and engaged proponents of the rights of the child. His premature death is a great loss for all of us who work for the rights of the child and his absence will be felt throughout the ENOC member states. Nigel bore his illness with great courage and he achieved a lot in the interest of children in Northern Ireland and in the rest of Europe in the short time that he had at his disposal as Commissioner for Children and Young People."Lena Nyberg and the colleagues at the Office of the Children's Ombudsman of Sweden

"FSYC had the opportunity to meet with Nigel on several occasions and always found those meetings a worthwhile and enjoyable encounter. Here in Fermanagh young people often feel isolated and left out as the rural west of Northern Irealnd and so the young people were delighted when Nigel travelled down to Enniskillen to meet with our group about NICCY’s Shout campaign." Diane Noble, Project Worker for Fermanagh Shadow Youth Council

"His sheer energy and commitment were an inspiration to all of us and, I am certain, to the children and young people of Northern Ireland. He was a natural and courageous leader, and I think we all looked to him as a seminal force within ENOC and within our UK group. He will be very sadly missed at our meetings." KathleenMarshall, Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland

"The Ombudsman for children in Norway has known, and cooperated with Nigel even before he took on the important position of establishing an Ombudsman institution in Northern Ireland. Nigel was much more than a colleague – he was a friend. Nigel will be missed by us all, but he will always be an inspiration in our common work for promoting Childrens Rights. His participation in ENOC has left us stronger and more optimistic, and Nigel will be a part of ENOC also in the future." Knut Haanes,Deputy Ombudsman, on behalf of the Ombudsman for Children in Norway

"Nigel was a wonderful, dedicated, and funny man, a beacon on behalf of children in Northern Ireland and Europe, a true children’s champion. Even when faced with ill health Nigel’s strength, dignity, sense of humour and his total commitment to children shone." Maria Battle, Deputy Children’s Commissioner for Wales

"I was one of the lucky young people who had the opportunity to interview Nigel, I knew from the start that there was something special about him. I also worked along with him in the NICCY Youth Panel where he was inspirational to us all. He will be sorely missed and truly was a Champion for all Children and Young People doing all that he possibly could to ensure we had a better life. Nigel was one in a million and will always be in our hearts." Claire McCambley, NICCY Youth Panel Member

“Nigel Williams worked tirelessly to establish a clear focus on the rights of children and young people throughout all parts of our society. By his work in establishing NICCY and pushing its agenda forward, he has made a substantial contribution to the welfare of all children and young people in Northern Ireland." Bob Collins, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission

 "Thank you for having been with us. For having shared with us your wonderful ideas, your always challenging powers to be strong and useful for children.Thank you for having been an example, of how we should understand, respect, support and empower them. Thank you for having been a pioneer in approaching dynamically children's issues, rights and voices in public.I can assure you that I will not forget you. Yourwatchdog, Niccy, will continue barking friendly but also warning and alarming, not only in Northern Ireland but also in Greece." George Moschos, Deputy Ombudsman Head, Department of Children's Rights "The Greek Ombudsman"

"My memory of Nigel is that he was a man of many talents and strengths. He was a clever strategist and forward thinker, and he was also brimming with a combination of compassion and good humour.
My funniest memory of Nigel is when we worked together on the selection process for the Chief Executive post.He personally took part in the role-play exercise, as the 'aggrieved parent', and it is just a pity the Oscars panel was not there. What a role he played! The candidates must have left the interview in various states of shock.Working with Nigel in subsequent times, when he had been through so much, was inspiring. His bravery and composure were so admirable and uplifting.
He was a man who was truly loved by so many, and he will be remembered fondly."
John Keanie, OCPA Assessor
 
"Nigel was such a great and kind hardworking man who did a wonderfull job as Commissioner. I met him three times and saw that he was very interested in what young people had to say. May God Bless you Nigel, you're one in a million." From Robert, A Young Person

"We were deeply saddened by Nigel's untimely passing. He always supported our work with children and we had been working particularly close on the issue of Speech and Language Therapy Services. He will be sorely missed." Mrs Denise Fitzsimons, Chairman, Down Lisburn Health and Social Services Trust

"Nigel Williams was a person of vision, integrity, passion and humanity. He cared deeply for people, especially our youth, in ways that caused others to think deeply about our children and the world they are growing up in. Nigel's vision helped to create Childnet International, his integrity drew others to the light of this vision, hispassion inspired others to also make a difference in the world, and his humanity made all of us glow in the warmth of his friendship. I will not forget you Nigel, nor what you stood for.He has now thrown us the torch, it is now ours to hold high. God bless you, your family and all those you have touched throughout your wonderful life. "Carpe diem!" Bill Belsey, President, Bullying.org

"The Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) is deeply saddened by the death of Nigel. We have lost a friend and a champion. Nigel’s easy going manner immediately put children and young people at ease, he was truly their Commissioner. In working with Nigel, young people in VOYPIC felt that they knew him personally and most importantly on first name terms. His availability, dedication and commitment brought about significant change. We will miss him." Vivian McConvey, Director, Voice Of Young People In Care

"On behalf of all at Fostering Network, I would like to express our regret at the death of Nigel. He was an inspiration both personally and professionally and will be missed by not only by your staff but also those people both children and adults who met him." Kate Lewis, Director

"At Northern Ireland Hospice Care we were delighted when, shortly into post as N.I. Commissioner for Children, Nigel took time out from his busy schedule to visit Horizon House, the Children's Hospice. Whilst here he spent quality time with the children, their parents and staff. The interest that he showed was genuine and was a greatencouragement to the staff and families who met him. His leadership in listening to children, to get services right for them, was a model for us all - he will be greatly missed."
Judith E Hill, Chief Executive


"I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Nigel. He had seemed
 invincible! In his relatively short time in post as the Commissioner he was certainly impressive. His commitment and sincerity shone through at all times, both at big public events and at a more personal level. His death is a great loss for Northern Ireland and he will be very hard indeed to replace." Prof Brice Dickson, 
School of Law, Queen's University

"Nigel was a marvellous person who set his stamp on the office from its earliest days, and always put children centre-stage. He will be sorely missed." Maggie Beirne, Director, Committee on the Adminstrations of Justice (CAJ) 

"I am very sorry to hear about the death of Nigel Williams. He has done a great job with all of the young people and now I only found out that he died on 28th March 2006. I would like to say how sorry i am to hear about this and i hope that one day someone could be great like him." Thomas Cochrane, young person aged 17

"We greatly valued the help and guidance Nigel, and the team at Childnet International, gave us and admire Nigel's commitment to helping to make the Internet a great and safe place for children." Anna Khan, Chief Executive, Parentalk

"Nigel was an exceptional person and his contribution to children and young people - not just in Northern Ireland - but right across the UK will never be forgotten. Children's and young people's lives will be safer and for ever enriched by this legacy and the influence that he has made to their future." Maggie Turner, Diana Award
 
“Nigel Williams’ death is very sad news. Nigel was a strong and dedicated champion for the rights and welfare of the North’s children. He brought a special dimension to public service and public policy understanding in the very effective way he communicated both with and for young people. “Nigel battled his illness with bravery and dignity throughout much of his time as Children’s Commissioner. He will be sadly missed by his colleagues at the Commission, as well as by those of us who got to know, respect and admire him." Mark Durkan, leader of SDLP

"The staff, young people and Management Committee wish to acknowledge the commitment and integrity with which he carried out his role as Children's Commissioner for Northern Ireland. His inclusiveness ensured that all young people were treated with respect." Brook Belfast

"We know he touched many young people's lives and has set a process of change in motion that cannot be turned back." Deirdre Quill , Director of Delivery, Children's Workforce Development Council

"He was an inspiration to us and the young people we work with, and he set a very high standard in terms of respecting, involving and really listening to children and young people. The last message we received from him was that he was concerned about funding problems we were having – Nigel, in the short time we knew you, youbecame a shining example of how public servants should treat and involve young people – you set the bar high!" Paul Smyth, Director, Public Achievement

"We've known him only for 2 years, yet he was easily recognized as a leader among us both for his gentle manner and dedication, as well as for his clear vision and constructive contributions during ENOC meetings."Camilleri Sonia, Children's Ombudsman from Malta

"His enthusiasm, encouragement and sense of humor meant a great deal to the families, staff and directors of NIMBA. Championing the rights of children and young people the legacy of his work will continue throughout Northern Ireland. It was a privilege to know him." Deirdre Brady Chief Executive NIMBA

"Nigel carried out his role of Children's Commissioner for Northern Ireland with understanding and integrity and will be sorely missed." Western Area Childcare Partnership

"We at SENAC greatly appreciated the interest Nigel took in the plight of parents fighting for their children's right to an effective education. Certainly, the excellent report released last year begain a process of publicly exposing the lack of provision of basic services to children with special educational needs." Brian Nolan, Chairman, Special Educational Needs Advice Centre (SENAC)   

"I know from my various conversations with him and from reading about him in both the local and national media that he was genuinely interested in protecting the rights of our children and young people." Brendan McConville, Education Officer, Nursery and Primiary, SELB

“We had the pleasure of working with Nigel on many occasions, He had many unique qualities, but we in PlayBoard remember him most fondly for his colourful ties, his great sense of fun and adventure and the natural skill he possessed when interacting with the children and young people." Jacqueline O’Loughlin PlayBoard Chief Executive"

"Since his appointment as NICCY Nigel had been a listening ear and encouraging support to us in the Foyer movement in NI. He came and visited our Foyers and also spoke at our Stormont event last year. Most importantly he listened to our young people – both with a clear knowledge of homelessness and employability issues and understanding their personal circumstances and situations." Fiona Boyle, NI Foyer Network

"Since his appointment to the post of Commissioner for Children and Young People, Nigel has been a strong advocate for children and has established an Office which, under his guidance, works tirelessly to safeguard and promote the rights of children in Northern Ireland." Save the Children

"There are very few adults gifted with the ability to vision inequality and exclusion as experienced from a child's perspective that is both interrelated with and independent of the adults around them. Nigel had this gift. Children and young people recognised it. Adults did not always, or sometimes felt challenged by it. He was a joy to work with, listen to, and learn from, and will be deeply missed." Bernadette McAliskey, Programme co-ordinator, S.T.E.P

"He was a great Champion for Children and has made a significant impact on all of those who came in contact with him. We hope that his legacy will live on through continuing the efforts that he made in promoting the interests of children and young people in Northern Ireland and throughout the world." Noelle McGrenera,Chairperson, The General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland

"Nigel's legacy will live on through the powerful voices of our children and young people. We must continue to encourage and support a culture where children express their views, to a world that really listens to them."Geraldine Loughran Chair, Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF)

"I did have the opportunity to meet Nigel a few times while at the NIYF, and knew him enough to say he had my deepest respect and admiration. I know you will all continue to do your best to keep alive the energy and dedication that has flowed from NICCY since he took up the post, and for what its worth, I for one really appreciate the contributions Nigel and NICCY have made to NI."  Salvador Guerrero, Promotion &Education Officer, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

"I cannot realize that we won't meet anymore. We have been appointed the same year in 2003 to the post of Ombudsman in children's work. We met the first time in Stockholm, we shared so many ideas and projects. I assure that I never forget you and your kind nice wife." Marie Anne RODESCH-HENGESCH, President of the Ombuds-Committee, Luxemburg

"He was indeed the Children’s Champion, working tirelessly to make N.Ireland a better place for all our children and young people. I especially valued his support and encouragement to all of us who are charged with promoting children’s rights within the formal education sector, encouraging schools to put the rights of children and young people at the very heart of their school ethos. Sadly, because of ill health, he was not able to be physically present at the NICCY ‘Democra School’ conference last week but his spirit and his vision was very much alive in all the young people who participated. He must have been so proud of all his team and confident that his legacy has been entrusted to safe hands. It was particularly fitting that in December 2005 he presentedthe UNICEF ‘Rights Respecting School award’ to Oakgrove Integrated primary school Derry/Londonderry, the first school in N. Ireland to receive this award.. It was a memorable day for all, especially the pupils who still remember his twinkling eyes and funny stories as be left them in no doubt as to who the real VIPs were!"Geraldine O'Kane, UNICEF Education Officer (N.I.)
 
"It is hard to find words, not already said, which adequately describe Nigel’s dedication and commitment to the interests of children and young people in N. Ireland and beyond. His loss will of course be felt most deeply by his family but his leadership and personality will be greatly missed by everyone working with children and youngpeople. He leaves behind a legacy of which his family will be justifiably proud."  Ian Walters, Chief Executive, Action Mental Health.
 
"When Nigel William's name was mentioned as the first such Commissioner in the Province, I was delighted - truly delighted- as he was such a good appointment.So my sadness and sense of grief arise not just form the loss of our first Children's Commissioner in such tragic circumstances, but also from the loss of such a fine andcourageous man." Lady Sylvia Hermon, MP, UUP  
 
"The staff and volunteers at CLIC Sargent NI are deeply saddened by the death of Nigel, a friend and supporter of our work. Our youth forum members have really appreciated the opportunities Nigel and his team have opened up for them. That he made the time to put the needs of our service on his busy agenda is something that we will always remember him for. Nigel’s unstinting encouragement has enriched our work, he cared deeply about what we stand for, it was close to his heart and we are indebted to him. He will be greatly missed." Liz Osborne Services Manager NI
 
" I first met Nigel Williams shortly after he became the Commissioner for Children and Young People. It was very obvious that he was a dedicated, committed, friendly and helpful man who gave of his time selflessly to help others. His battle with cancer was dignified and brave as he continued with his good work for children and young people; and on behalf of the Sports Council for Northern Ireland, I extend to his wife and children our sincere condolences at this time of sadness." Eamonn McCartan, Chief Executive, Sports Council for Northern Ireland
 
"Nigel Williams first visited New Life Counselling Service in December 2003 when he painted the 'watchdog' logo onto our giant jigsaw. At the time he said "We need to harness, encourage and channel the vibrant energy and passion of our children so that they really do have a say in the decisions that affect them in order for them to become the community leaders of tommorrow". His words are as much an inspiration to us now as they were then." New Life Counselling Service
 
“It is to Nigel’s credit that NICCY was established so smoothly and quickly raised its profile among children and young people in Northern Ireland. Nigel worked tirelessly in championing the rights of children and young people and promoting their inclusion in all parts of society in Northern Ireland. Nigel was also a source of great support to many YouthNet member organisations."   Tony McCusker, Chairperson of YouthNet
 
"I knew Nigel williams before he became the commissioner as i was on the original panel who selected him for the job. I interviewed Nigel nearly 3 years ago and he was exactly what we were looking for in our commissioner. I was very saddened to hear that he had passed away after a very long battle with cancer. He will be missed by all the children who worked with him and who he helped throughout Northern Ireland. He was a pleasure to work with while he was setting up his office and appointing his key members of staff which he involved young people in throughout the process. This was what we wanted in our commissioner, someone who valued our views and inputs." Nicola Haslett CYPU panel member
 
"Nigel's loss is a loss for many. He will be remembered for his steadfast commitment to the rights of children and young people, the grace and power of his moral and ethical voice, the vision he provided and the inspirational way he conveyed it, and the tireless energy with which he continued to pursue his unshakable conviction. Young people have lost an ardent advocate and the ENOC family has lost an esteemed colleague."Beate Baglietto & Caroline Bakker, ENOC secretariat/UNICEF
 
"Opportunity Youth is deeply saddened to hear of the death of a man who truly believed in the potential and scope of young people. Those young people fortunate enough to meet Nigel through Opportunity Youth were completely taken back by his laid back and inclusive demeanour. They felt he was really listening to them and that their voices were being heard at levels they could not access for themselves. Nigel valued them and young people knew it - perfect!" Anne-Marie McClure, Chief Executive, Opportunity Youth
 

"We greatly appreciated Nigel’s interest in our work when we met you both last autumn and his desire to endorse our work, it makes such a difference to have that kind of support." Fiona Davidson, NI Music Therapy Trust

"Nigel Williams put children and young people on the political agenda of Northern Ireland. He had both a passion for the role of Commissioner and compassion for those he represented. At our Taking Care conference in September of 2005 Nigel said "The church needs to recapture its belief in children and its belief of children ­ to promote the best practice of current child protection polices .²"As Commissioner he started a process that has ensured that Northern Ireland is a safer place for all our children and young people." Lindsay Conway Director of Social Service of the Presbyterian Church

"Nigel walked the talk. He had no interest in power for himself which is why he was such an inspirational champion for the rights of the powerless. He had more respect for the voice of a child than an adult with influence. He had laughter and gravitas in equal measure and put both to the service of children’s rights. He will be greatly missed." Clionagh Boyle, Director, Derry Children’s Commission

"I remember him coming to Australia, just after he was appointed Northern Irish Commissioner and the immediate way we connected on kids issues. I was impressed that he bought his daughter with him so she could provide a young person's perspective. While he and I met over lunch to discuss various issues, his daughter met with some young people from Australia. I particularly recall his delight that the she had crocodile pizza for lunch. He was such a warm and engaging person with that strong commitment to children that the world needs. We shall miss having him on the other side of the world championing children rights." Gill  Calvert and the NSW Children's Commission

"I had the pleasure to work with Nigel (and those who appointed him!) in the development of the work of the Commissioner's office. Not only did I greatly appreciate his passion, enthusiasm and commitment to improving the lives of children and young people in Northern Ireland but I also enjoyed his personal support and the occasions where we explored the 'big issues'. Your presence will be missed by many and my thoughts are with those who knew him best." Rodney Green

" The Youth Council had the greatest respect for Nigel’s integrity and devotion in the service of all children and young people in Northern Ireland. We had the privilege of working with him on matters of mutual concern. His support for issues, such as the mental well-being of young people, was crucial, both in the public domain and behind the scenes. The Youth Service has lost a good friend and we have all lost a dear “colleague”, but we will all continue to benefit from his legacy." David Guilfoyle, Chief Executive, Youth Council for Northern Ireland

"Be still Nigel. We love you and thank you for all your work." Johnny Parks, Director at the Northern Ireland Youth Forum 

“Nigel was a fabulous champion for children and I cannot stress how much we at NIPPA appreciate his work especially the voice he gave to young children. Nigel was extremely supportive in inclusion projects and working with traveller children and we will continue to work with the NICCY office and endeavour to keep his passion and commitment alive. He will be terribly missed.” Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive, NIPPA

"So very sad. Nigel has been so heroic over the long period of his illness. From the outside world's perspective, he barely allowed the cancer to interfere. He has set such a standard for children's rights offices, both the physical and the virtual version and the development of priorities and the involvement of children. He will be sorely missed in ENOC as in Northern Ireland." Peter N, End Corporal Punishment

"I was very sorry to hear about Nigel's death. What a sad lost to children in Northern Ireland and to the children's world more generally." Dr Ruth Sinclair, Director, NCB Northern Ireland

“Nigel was the keynote speaker at a conference organised by the West Belfast Partnership last May, entitled Does Every Child Matter? Every child mattered to Mr Williams and he is not only a great loss to his family, but to Northern Ireland society.” Geraldine McAteer, Chief Executive of the West Belfast Partnership

"Nigel has been a fantastic support to Home-Start since he came into office. He readily agreed to accept every invitation to visit and speak at schemes and was an inspiration to families, volunteers and staff throughout Northern Ireland schemes. We remember with gratitude his readiness to host the launch of our book “Changing Lives in Northern Ireland” last May in your office –Nigel despite his illness was really inspirational to all who attended the event –the children especially." Heather Knox, Home-Start

"I and other colleagues had the privilege of working closely with Nigel and I would like to pay tribute to the way in which he continued to promote the rights of children and young people throughout his illness. He will be greatly missed." Professor Monica McWilliams, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

"Nigel had visited BAC when we first moved into Barnett's and had made a very positive impact as he toured the Centre and met with some of our young people. He came across as a gentleman."   Stephen Dickson, Centre Director, Belfast Activity Centre

"It is a measure of Nigel that his death has left everyone stunned and conscious that we have all lost something very precious, passionate and pure. However it is a mark of Nigel that his legacy will live on and his important work will continue with and through the children and young people - Nigel helped them find their voice and caused others to listen to it. He also taught us all a thing or two about true courage and advocacy!"Eleanor Gill, Chief Executive, Consumer Council for Northern Ireland

"Northern Ireland is much poorer for losing a man with such dedication and integrity as Nigel had. He was indeed, One of life's true gentleman." Mary Bradley, MLA

" On behalf of the thousands of young people in the North-West, my colleagues and I at Derry City Shadow Council would like to express our deepest sympathy to Nigel’s family and friends at this most difficult time. Nigel was a bright light in the dark tunnel of campaigning for young people and having worked with him on several issues, I know what the extent of the loss to our young people and indeed our community here inDerry/Londonderry will be on Nigel’s passing. We would like to thank him on behalf of all those we represent for his tireless campaigning, dedication and unrelenting brilliance for young people. You will be sadly missed."Scllr E Doyle, Chairman, Derry City Shadow Council.

"If we always strongly feel the loss of a child, it has also a special meaning the disappearance of a person, as now it is the case of Nigel, who had put his life at the service of the children's rights safeguard. We are still too few and his loss leaves us a bit more orphans. Nigel will always be for me an iniciatic person, because I first met him when I had just assumed this responsibility and when I was discovering what was and what could be ENOC. For all the persons of our office he will kept being a friendly and encouraging person of reference."JAUME FUNES I ARTIAGA, SÍNDIC DE GREUGES DE CATALUNYA 

"Hey everyone at the NICCY office I am one of the NYP and all I want to say is that God Bless you all and may you all live in peace, same to you up there Nigel and I love you nigel I really do, GOD BLESS NICCY AND NIGEL." Vishal, NICCY Youth Panel Member

"I had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Nigel for a number of years before he was appointed the first Children's Commissioner for NI. I was delighted when I heard that he had been appointed as I could not think of anyone better suited to the role that he. He was a wonderful person with a clear vision for children and he will be greatly missed." Ian Elliott, Divisonal Director NI, NSPCC

"It is with deep sadness that we offer our sincere condolences to the family and co-workers of Nigel William. One of Nigel's first public appearances in the February after his appointment as Commissioner, was to speak at the launch of ourchildren's exhibition We're Here Too. His early interest in their heritage and experiences is atribute to his commitment to the rights of all children irrespective of their faith and ethnicity and he made a most memorable impression on our community, young and old." Ivan Selig, Chairman, Belfast Jewish Community

"I’m very sad to hear about Nigel. His friendly eyes and his charming ideas his power for children and his respect to children, colleagues and friends are a big example for me and us. Our thoughts go to You and his family. Nigel, his ideas and his power (and NICCY) will be in our hearts." Christian Theiss and all the Austrian Ombudspersons and Teams, Ombudsman for Styria (Austria)

"It was really sad to hear of Nigel's untimely death today. As the first children's commissioner in Northern Ireland he really put children and young people's issues firmly on the political agenda. Everyone who met him recognises that he did so in a very personable yet challenging manner and this we will all miss. I have no doubt that children who met Nigel will be very sad at hearing about his death as he made such a strong and instant connection with them. In his relatively short time as commissioner he has put together an excellent team in his office and our thoughts and prayers are with you and his family at this time." Dr Michael Murray, Family and Child Care Programme Head (A), Ulster Community and Hospitals Trust

"At this difficult time we send you our deepest condolence. With Nigel Williams passing ENOC lost the most efficient and creative person. You will all be in our prayers." Pawel Jaros and Colleagues from The Ombudsman Children Office in Poland

"Nigel's commitment to young people and his impact on their lives is clear from the dozens of tributes on the niccy website. Words cannot express the enthusiasm which he had, but at least they go some small way to offering comfort to those he has left behind. CS Lewis once said that "The worst attitude of all would be the professional attitude which regards children in the lump as a sort of raw material which we have to handle." This was not how Nigel saw them.. To him they were "works in progress" who needed to be supported in their struggle to be heard, recognised and valued for who they are now and not only for what they might become. His work will live on. He will be sadly missed by those of us involved in the movement for integrated education."Michael Wardlow, Chief Executive Officer, NICIE

"Our last visit from Nigel was in December when he came to do the posters for the 'Seen and Heard' project with the children from Foyleview school. There, as ever, his energy, patience and committment to the children was so evident in spite of his illness. In a short time he made a big impact and will be greatly missed." Derry Childrens Commission

"I am deeply saddened to hear of Nigel's death this morning. His colleagues at NICCY know better than I that he was a man of profound integrity, compassion and warmth whose commitment to the rights of children and young people was unswerving." Professor Phil Scraton, Queens University

“The Commissioner’s post was designed to be a Champion for Children and there is no doubt that Nigel Williams took on this role with great gusto and enthusiasm. It was also clear that he cared deeply about the rights of children and young people and their right to be heard and a fitting tribute to him will be that we all continue our efforts to make sure that all children have a stake in our society." Barnardos

"Can I say on behalf of the Press Association, we are very sorry to hear of Nigel's death. All our staff found him to be a strong communicator, very accessible, a decent man and a pleasure to work with." Press Association

"I’m grieved to learn about Nigel’s death. His honesty, favour and mentality is an instance that never passes. I would like to offer my sincere condolences to his family, friends and to all who loved him. He lives in our memories here ever after." Albert Takács, Dept. Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, Hungary

“Nigel brought an energy and passion and a deep commitment to his work. His leadership will be sadly missed by everyone who had the opportunity to work with him and I am sure that many many people will share this loss with his family.” Sue Ramsey, Sinn Fein

"During the short time I had the pleasure to collaborate with him in ENOC, I learned to appreciate him as a very clever, honest and successful advocate of Children's Rights in Northern Ireland. When my colleague Marie-Anne and myself had the honour to participate in the events celebrating the first anniversary of NICCY, we got aware of the immense achievements made in only one year under his leadership. We appreciated not only his scientific and mediatic approch to the promotion of the defense of children's rights, but also his true commitment to children and parents in need." Robert Soisson, Vice-president of the Luxembourg Ombudscommittee for Children's Rights

“He was committed to his role as Northern Ireland’s first Children’s Commissioner and achieved a lot. Anyone who has ever met Nigel will remember his great spirit - a spirit of hope and enthusiasm and that will stay with us, even when he’s gone." Patricia Lewsley, SDLP Children’s Spokesperson

"Nigel was one of lives true Gentlemen and all of us here in the Disabled Children & Young Peoples Participation Project were confident that Nigel would ensure that our voices were heard. The Young People and I are truly saddened by his passing." Rosemary Murray, Barnardos

" Simply the best!!!" Mrs A Rice

"In the short time that I had the pleasure of getting to know Nigel, he has made an unforgettable impression on me (and many others I am sure). His humour, his empathic personality, his 'watchdog' attitude,his authentic interest in children and their rights and his dedication to his work will continue to serve as an example...and a difficult act to follow indeed." Ankie Vandekerckhove, Flemish Childrens Commissioner

"Although I'd never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Williams, on behalf of the Portuguese Provedoria de Justiça I want to express our grief and regret at his death. Our thoughts are with Mr. Williams Family, Friends and all the NICCY staff." Miguel Menezes Coellho, Co-ordinator of Portuguese Commission

"I always found him to be extremely helpful, insightful and compassionate. Children in Northern Ireland have lost a great champion and he will be sorely missed by many. Condolences on your loss." Jackie McKeown, Editor, Newry Democrat

"It is with great grief that the people of Northern Ireland will have learned of the death of Northern Ireland Children’s Commissioner Mr Nigel Williams. Nigel certainly brought a lot of energy to his post and will be sadly missed by all who worked with him." Arlene Foster, DUP

"Nigel shared with us all a real obsession on justice for children and for children's rights, especially in Northern Ireland where children had to suffer so many years of suffering." Claire Brisset, French Childrens Commissioner

"Mr Williams fought a brave battle against long-term illness, and did not allow it to be a hindrance to his carrying out his functions to make a difference for children and young people growing up in Northern Ireland."Alliance Party

 "I write on behalf of all in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award family to express our regret at Nigel William’s Death. He will be sadly missed both as a warm and caring ,deeply personable man and a good friend to all who knew him but also as a tireless advocate for the welfare of young people." Eric Rainey, Award Director – Northern Ireland