John Mugford, chair of the Alpha-1 UK Support Group, passed away peacefully at home on Jan. 30. He was 65.
(From left to right: Sheila Mugford, John Mugford, Darryl Mugford, Paul Mugford and Ryan Mugford)
Mugford was diagnosed with Alpha-1 in 1999 after contracting double pneumonia. Two years later, he joined the Alpha-1 UK Support Group, became a member of the committee in 2008, and was elected chair in 2010.
“John was a true gentleman and devoted Alpha-1 advocate, and was always a pleasure to work alongside,’’ the Alpha-1 UK Support Group said in a written statement. “His efforts have made a significant difference to the development and growth of the group, and he was delighted to see the establishment of National Health Service (NHS) Alpha-1 Clinics leading to better care for Alphas. With an augmentation therapy now licensed in Europe, he remained hopeful that treatment was on the horizon for Alpha-1 patients in the UK. John has left enormous shoes to fill, and the trustees and committee remain dedicated to continuing his good work. We would like to thank his wife, Sheila, and his sons, for sharing him with us.”
Mugford was instrumental in establishing the group as a charity, initially in England and Wales and later in Scotland.
Improving the lives of Alphas became his mission. He was a committed and tenacious patient advocate. Supporting Alphas and their friends and family members became a full-time role for him.
He was passionate about using the Internet to improve his knowledge of all aspects of Alpha-1. He got a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction from passing on that knowledge to others, and from helping and supporting others in any way he could. He built the group’s social media presence, regularly shared relevant information and news, and was the charity’s communications center.
Mugford was a very private man, and did not want anyone outside of his personal circle to know how ill he had become. Hours before he passed away, he was still messaging group members and supporting them to the very end.
Mugford also had a passion for music – he was a part-time musician playing in a band up and down the coun
try for 30 years. His “Song of the Day,” which he posted on the Alpha-1 UK Support Group’s Facebook page, was eagerly anticipated by the group’s members.
His last Song of the Day, posted on January 29, 2017, was aptly “I want to know what love is” by Foreigner: the tributes in his memory demonstrated how loved he was in the Alpha-1 community, not just in the UK but internationally.
He was loved because of the kindness, support and professionalism he showed to everyone, even at times of great personal suffering.