Phil Spalding, the founder of Hep C Positive Swindon and campaigner for liver health, sadly passed away on 6 February 2023.
Following his own diagnosis of hepatitis C, Phil became a passionate advocate for patients and worked tirelessly to help reduce stigma around the virus.
In 2011 Phil set up and ran Hep C Positive, a hugely successful support group in Swindon. People would come from miles around to attend. The group provided a friendly and welcoming place for people to get together at a time for support and information, as well as social activities, when there not many options for people to connect with each other and at a time when treatment options were at their bleakest. He also worked with the charity Liver4Life to raise awareness of the virus.
Phil will be best remembered for his work as a recording artist. He played the bass guitar on tracks for the likes of Mick Jagger, Seal, Elton John and Randy Crawford. He also recorded all bass tracks on the Lion King soundtrack studio album.
Rachel Halford, CEO of The Hepatitis C Trust, said: “On behalf of The Hepatitis C Trust, I want to express my sincere condolences to the friends and family of Phil Spalding. Phil was a fantastic advocate for people with hepatitis C who dedicated much of his time to helping people get treatment and care. He spoke enthusiastically about his own recovery and was an inspiration to all of us working in liver health.
“Many of our staff, including myself, worked with Phil over the years; he was a total force of nature and we worked closely with him on many different events and projects, including delivering workshops to encourage and motivate others to start their own support groups. He felt strongly that support groups should not be a place for people to feel down or complain about their circumstances, but rather to be a positive and busy environment, with everyone involved. Whether it was making tea and welcoming people, or hitting the streets to advertise the group, everyone had a role to play.
“Phil was never afraid to speak out, full of enthusiasm and passion as well as kindness and warmth. He will be missed.”