The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville

An invitation came in from my old school, Oakham in Rutland, 170 miles away. The invitation was for a families day to celebrated 40 years of the part of the school where I started. It seemed the perfect excuse to take the family back “home” to show them school and the area where I grew up. I looked on the net and found that in the village where I grew up, the church (where my dad was Rector) now only has one service a month – but it happened to be the same weekend. An overnight stop booked with my best friend from school and a perfect weekend away was planned.

Last week I was chatting with the children about who I might or might not see at the school event – for example there might be some teachers there who remembered me. In the excitement, Simon (8) got a bit muddled and asked if the old vicar might be at the church. Before I could say anything, Martin (10), in that direct way that siblings have with each other, pointed out that as that was Grandad that wouldn’t happen as Grandad has died. Quickly I salvaged the situation pointing out that of course Grandad would be there with us in spirit, and would be so pleased that we had gone to visit.

You probably know, or could definitely guess, that Dad had planned his own funeral in every last detail. The reading he wanted was John 15, verses 9-17. On the day, Wendy, Martin and Simon read it between them.

Arriving at Whitwell I was so excited to see the churchwarden, Mary, and to show the family round church that I didn’t look at the pew sheet.

It was not until the Rector started to read the Gospel that I realised – it was John 15, verses 9-17.

Barbie Lloyd

Festival 2015