Remembering Ian Singleton

CEP has recently heard the sad news that Ian Singleton, founder member of the Bristol and District Tranquilliser Project (BTP), has died.

Ian had a busy job as a civil servant until he experienced severe withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines in the 1980s. Frustrated with the lack of support available, Ian decided to work for BTP for the rest of his career in order help others who were suffering desperately from withdrawal.

The charity provided (and continues to provide) a free helpline for callers, and Ian was usually at the end of the phone himself. His compassionate reassurance and calm encouragement became a lifeline for thousands over the decades. It is no exaggeration to suggest that Ian saved the lives of many of these callers, helping them cope with the debilitating pain and despair.

Luke Montagu, co-founder of CEP, recalls: ‘Like many others, I would call Ian day after day to tell him that I could not tolerate the suffering any longer. And every day he would remind me that things would improve – perhaps not today, or next week, or even this year. But this constant reassurance became the bedrock of my recovery and eventually things did indeed improve, as he said they would. It is hard to express how grateful I am for his support during that terrible time.’

Other clients of BTP have commented as follows:

‘He was one of the originals, if it were not for Ian I would not be here today’

‘Terribly sad news, he was a friend and he meant so much to me, I will always remember our times in the group.’

‘For three years Ian walked a very dark path with me when I was completely alone. He really was the light that guided me out of despair. I and many hundreds like me will always remember him with heartfelt gratitude.’

CEP made a short film about Ian which tells his story and celebrates his work. It can be seen via the link below. Our thoughts are with his wife Sue and their family at this very sad time. 

6 Responses to Remembering Ian Singleton

  1. Glad Shrubsall 09/05/2022 at 6:48 pm #

    Such sad news about Ian.
    He was a beacon of hope to me and gave patient kindness during a time when I needed it most.
    Knowing that he knew what I was going through made such a difference when I was facing the bewildering and lonely task of coming off the mountain of meds I was on.
    I’d recently been thinking how I’m so looking forward to ringing the line and letting him know that I’m finally free and completely off them all (hopefully not too much longer now) and thanking him for the huge part he’d played in that too.
    Saddened to be unable to do that now but I send Heartfelt condolences to his family especially and to the countless others who will feel his absence too

  2. kiwi 09/05/2022 at 9:05 pm #

    Withdrawal is so brutal and long lasting, for even the most strongest of people. It can also be so confusing. Everyone needs an Ian Singleton in their life to be able to survive it.

  3. Robert 09/05/2022 at 9:54 pm #

    I never contacted Ian, but judging by the online videos, he seemed a lovely man. I bookmarked his video about withdrawal duration, in which he gave an assurance that everyone gets better completely, eventually. I’ve watched it many times and found it very reassuring. What a difference he must have made to many people’s lives.

  4. Lisbet 09/05/2022 at 10:31 pm #

    Such sad news – Ian contributed an enormous amount to people going through the dreadful process of withdrawal and recovery.

    I didn’t have personal contact with Ian (I live overseas) but the videos I watched that he put out and the knowledge that there were people around who understood and believed what was going on for me made a huge difference. I hung on to the words of recovery and getting through.

    My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues with such a huge loss.

    Thank you, Ian, you made a difference.

  5. Bill P 10/05/2022 at 7:36 am #

    Videos I found that him amd Prof Ashton were and still are a big help to me and many others . You will be truly missed and thank you for your work which hopefully will be continued.

  6. Margaret Braithwaite 15/05/2022 at 4:08 pm #

    From Margaret and Phil Braithwaite , Birmingham -We are really saddened to hear about Ian . Like Una Corbett who passed away a few years ago he will be missed . Both these two helped Phil with his nightmare withdrawal reassuring him that there would eventually be light at the end of the tunnel . They both explained the effects of withdrawal and of course Ian had his own experiences to compare . Much sympathy to his family and gratitude to Ian for the helphe gave to Phil. There was none here in Birmingham .. Calls to him ere a lifeline .

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