Family and friends gathered at St John’s Church, Workington on 28th February for a beautiful moving service of thanksgiving for the lives of Pat and Gareth Evans.
The large church was full of people for a celebration that included elements so important to Pat and Gareth – their fondness of fell walking, joy for bellringing, love of music and the essence of their Faith. Readings were an extract from Alfred Wainwright’s ‘The Western Fells’; and a Reading from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians about Love. Gareth’s favourite Psalm 121 was included. Pat was looking forward to singing ‘God So Loves the World’ during Holy Week – and a recording of this resounded around the pews and touched everyone. So many friends with so many memories.
The Very Revd Dr Frances Ward gave a warm, often humorous, reflection on Pat and Gareth’s lives and the great team they became. This was followed by the congregation ringing out hand bells in tribute and remembrance. Pat and Gareth would have loved it. Alongside beautiful hymns, there was a performance of ‘Quintet’ by Michael Kamen. This glorious piece written for a Brass Quintet was performed superbly. It gave the perfect opportunity to absorb the wonderful sound and remember Pat and Gareth. The service closed with the organist playing the sublime ‘In Paradisum’ from Fauré’s Requiem.
A beautiful service for two lovely people, who contributed so much and touched the lives of so many.
Following the service we gathered in the adjoining Community Hall for the Funeral Tea – “a proper Bellringers Tea” someone commented. People shared memories and happy stories. A steel band played – I remembered my utter surprise when years ago I discovered Pat played in a steel band. More rousing music from the Brass Quintet. Conversation turned to the Guild Peal of Minor rung the evening before at Wigton in their memory . Whilst the Band unintentionally met short for a peal of Major, it proved poignant that there were two empty ropes for a Guild peal – an activity that would have ordinarily included Pat and Gareth.
To date, there have been 21 performances recorded on Bellboard that are In memoriam to Pat and Gareth. In addition to the above peal at Wigton, there have been another six peals; two in Derbyshire and one each in Durham, Devon, Somerset and Hertfordshire. Quarter peals and other ringing have been done in their names – in their home tower of St Michael’s and in churches across the county and the country – showing how far and wide Pat and Gareth were known and respected.
After the Service of Thanksgiving, I got home and reread the Order of Service. It leaves the last word to Terry Pratchett –
‘No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away’