It is nearly two years since Andrew died (the date was 16 April 2012), and David Randolph-Horn and the PCC decided that we should plant a rose in the Memorial Garden in his memory. Andrew’s mother Marion wanted to commemorate him in this way, and it was lovely that she was able to be there and to take part.
The date set for the planting was Sunday 9 March 2014, and on the previous day Marion and I went to Harlow Carr Gardens near Harrogate to buy the rose. We chose a beautiful red rose called ‘Benjamin Britten’, particularly appropriate as Andrew loved classical music and Britten was also gay.
Sunday was an amazingly beautiful day, warm and sunny, more like early summer than early spring: so it was no hardship to start the service outside in the Memorial Garden. We all gathered around the corner where the volunteer group had prepared the ground and dug a suitable hole. David was presiding, and he led us in a version of the Gathering responses for Lent, adapted to remind us of some of Andrew’s spiritual fruits and gifts.
Then came the planting of the rose bush. After David had placed the rose in its hole, we all took turns to throw some earth in, starting with the children (trowels were provided). It wasn’t hurried; we had time to think of Andrew and to remember with gratitude all he had brought to us as individuals and as a spiritual community. Then we went inside to continue the service.
After the service we remembered to give the newly planted rose a good soaking with water, to give it a good chance of settling in and thriving!
Andrew John Shackleton 1954–2012
May he rest in peace and rise in glory
Photographs © Jan Betts 2014