articleThis content is more than 5 years old.

Tribute: Peter Kissagizlis

David Ward, Terry Turner | 09.11.2009

Peter Kissagizlis, co-founder of the Hull and East Yorkshire Stammerers' Self-Help Group and a key figure in raising awareness of cluttering, died in November 2009.

From David Ward, on behalf of the International Cluttering Association

Peter Kissagizlis

It is with great sadness I report that on Sunday, 8th November, Peter Kissagizlis lost his brave battle with cancer.

As a child, Peter grew up with a misdiagnosis of stammering, and treatment proved ineffective. Highly frustrated with the limitations his difficulties placed on him both socially and educationally, it was not until later in life that he was more accurately diagnosed with cluttering. With unshakable determination, Peter subsequently set about increasing the understanding and awareness of cluttering amongst professionals and public alike.

Peter's efforts in this cause, right up until his untimely passing were relentless and wide reaching. Far too many to list in full here, they included co-founding support groups, giving countless interviews, and in 2007 presenting a key address at the first world congress on cluttering. Earlier this year his efforts were recognised by the International Cluttering Association with a lifetime achievement award.

Researchers, clinicians, and people who clutter alike, all owe Peter a massive debt of gratitude. The most selfless of men, Peter will be remembered as a true pioneer in the cause of cluttering, and a man of great courage and resolve. Peter's death is cause for great sadness, but he died knowing he had achieved so much, and that the impact of his achievements will last long into the future.

David Ward, on behalf of ICA

Peter's death is cause for great sadness, but he died knowing he had achieved so much, and that the impact of his achievements will last long into the future.

From Terry Turner, fellow member of the Hull and East Yorkshire Stammerers' Self-Help Group

I was a member of the British Stammering Association (BSA) when in 1998 I put a notice in the Hull City Council's news bulletin asking if anyone was interested in helping me to form a local self-help group for people who stammer. Peter responded promptly so we met and worked out a plan to try and attract other members.

Two more people expressed interest and from this we were able to create the Hull and East Yorkshire Stammerers' Self-Help Group, with myself as chairperson - a position I held until Dave Burton joined us in 2003 and was able to provide fresh impetus to the group's activities - and Peter as secretary. I was able to secure premises where we met weekly and soon attracted other members who recognised the help and companionship that being a member of a self-help group provided.

Like the BSA, our aim was to raise awareness about stammering and combat misunderstanding and prejudice faced by people who stammer, or in Peter's case, those who clutter. The group was always honest with any newcomers that we didn't offer any 'cure' but hoped to increase the confidence of people with speech difficulties to face the world and cope with life despite adversity. Our main 'therapy' was the use of speaking circles, and through this members were able to interact more comfortably with others within the group and in the outside world.

People came and went over the years but Peter worked relentlessly for the group by using his considerable skills and abilities to raise funding to enable us to function successfully. Peter's skills also enabled him to set up an enviable website for the group to publicise its existence and to attract interest from people seeking help and information about their speech difficulties.

Peter always championed the cause for stammering and cluttering awareness. In the Spring of 2007 Peter travelled to Bulgaria to attend the First International Cluttering Conference which initiated the International Cluttering Association. Peter rubbed shoulders with world experts in cluttering and he was able to relay his experiences to the Bulgarian audience, which was greeted with widespread acclaim. Following this, Peter gave a very well-received presentation of his experience of cluttering at the Bulgarian Conference, and was able to demystify the condition of cluttering to people not fully aware of it at the 2007 BSA Conference held in Telford.

It was with great pleasure that Peter, by this time seriously ill, was presented in March 2009 with a Lifetime Award by the International Cluttering Association in recognition of the tremendous work he had done to raise awareness about cluttering.

It is with great sadness I offer condolences to Peter's whole family and especially to his wife Chris, who was always a tremendous source of support for him. Peter was a very good person and a great friend. May he find the eternal rest and peace he so very much deserves.

Terry Turner
November 9th 2009