Oh my goodness! What a day we all had. Will try later to put a proper link to some pictures. But whilst you’re waiting, go to the This is Gloucestershire website and you can see a whole series they’ve published.
So, let’s see. A bit of behind the scenes stuff first. Sylvie and I went off to see Rosie in the morning. Sylvie watched as Rosie’s coffin was closed so that the funeral director could prove to her that she was indeed the last person to see her. Rosie looked very lovely – she too was wearing black with a flash of bright.
The flowers were beautiful – ivy and rose garland round the coffin and then white, purple, pink scented flowers all over the top. Sylvie had requested something small and cute and then random pinky red roses, and that’s what we got. The coffin was a wicker one with turquoise bands round it. Lots of people said they’ve never seen a beautiful coffin before, and it was.
Over at the village hall, Rosie’s friends had decorated the stage with things from her bedroom; put up purple bunting (you can get funeral bunting, but only in America you know), put jam jars with stripy lollies in on all the window sills and somehow, had blown up 250 balloons.
And then people started arriving. And arriving. And arriving. And arriving. . . . and arriving. The hall was packed, and people were standing and sitting on the patio. We reckon 400+, of all ages, from all over the country and abroad. People had gone out for a walk and picked hedgerow flowers, raided neighbours gardens and put together intricate bouquets of lollies and even a chilli pepper. And everyone had observed Rosie’s explicit dress code. Lots of people were wearing TKOE tshirts and domino jewellery.
If you look at Rosie’s blog on 2nd July this year, you can see what she thought of the poet Tony Walsh. Amazing man that he is, he agreed not only to write a poem for us about Rosie, but also to act as the MC. He was brilliant, and we are working out with him how best to make the poem available. Although for best effect we will all need to ask him to come and perform it in our living rooms.
Rosie arrived to the track from Matilda, Send Me on my Way, and sat resplendent on the stage with all her stuff.
Lots of family, friends, school and work mates read out tributes to Rosie. It’s fair to say Gwen stole the show. Chris sneaked in a Bruce Springsteen track, Terry’s Song, which would have amused Ro and did appal Sylvie. Tony read his poem, Lin read Sylvie’s eulogy and then Rosie left to Long Live the Queen by Frank Turner.
Rosie led several hundred of us down the country lane to the churchyard, where Tony the rector led a simple and very lovely burial service. No one fell down the hole.
Then we all walked back and whilst people got hot pork and stuffing rolls and ice cream from an ice cream van, there was a chance for other people to speak, kicked off by Harriet. And then there was a chance for everyone to write a message for Rosie and 250 balloons floated off. There are pictures on Facebook and a video on YouTube which again, I’ll work out how to link you up to.
The sun shone, the birds sang. Cal had 4 ice creams that we know of, and Chris partook of a deal of cider. Sylvie’s shoes went down a storm. At the end of the afternoon, a band of people went and placed all the bunches of flowers that people had bought with them on Rosie’s grave, and another band of people swept and washed up and packed up and restored the hall back to itself again.
We had a wonderful day. On Sunday I had been wondering how to break the news to Chris, Cal, Sylvie and Toby that I didn’t think I could make it to the funeral. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It was a real team effort and we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who made it such a special day. Rosie would have loved it.
The Knock on Effect continues – we’ve had so many donations, so we’ll let you know how much and where we are donating it to, once it’s all been counted. There’s a table top sale in October; a Zumbathon in November and various other things being plotted. Details will go on here soon. And sales are going brilliantly.
19 years life lived to the full.