A REPORT FROM ROBERTS FUNERAL
It’s hard to believe it’s already been a Whole Week since we said goodbye to our dear Robert Green, RIP. (I apologise for the slight delay in reporting, I had a busy week, then went down with a bug, just in time for Bank Holiday weekend!)
All Saints’ Daresbury outside Warrington (which ‘oddly’ doubles as the nation’s Lewis Carroll Centre) was pretty well packed out on Monday 29th April, showing how greatly Robert was loved in his own community as well as by us supporters of his campaign for Hollie Greig and for all abused children. Some 15-20 of us had managed to get along for 2pm from all over the UK; this felt to be about the right balance for this mainly family occasion.
The service, too was simple and lovely and hit exactly the right note. The vicar was a close personal friend of Robert and had spent many hours with him at his bedside in hospital. We sang one of Robert’s favourite hymns, ‘Just as I am’, then his partner’s son, a fellow-guitarist delivered a Special ‘Blues’ Tribute. In the Eulogy we heard how Robert’s love of blues music, on which he was something of an expert apparently, had from an early age opened his mind and his heart to those struggling under oppression and injustice. The story of Nelson Mandela had also moved him particularly deeply and had inspired his own work for justice, we were told.
Other members of the family contributed touching memories and tokens of affection; Robert’s younger brother described how it was growing up under such an authoritative and charismatic figure! and filled us in on parts of his earlier life we hadn’t known about. He’d been called by a string of other names, including Bob and Jim but not George as that was his father’s name. From an early age he had been keenly interested in what was going on all over the world as well as in Britain, which probably accounted for why he went into the travel-business.
Daughter Catherine painted a very tender picture of a father devoted to her and her brother. As a young adult she had impishly put his devotion to the test by insisting that he travel down to visit her in London with her favourite very large teddy-bear strapped into the passenger-seat beside him! With which he had unquestioningly complied, regardless of possible embarrassment at traffic-lights, etc.! It made a very comical story, the way she told it.
David Scott delivered the Old Testament reading on behalf of our community. Isaiah 51 4-8 had aptly been chosen: “… Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.” Fighting back tears, Robert’s partner’s daughter then read Matthew 5, the Beatitudes which again very appropriately end: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who are before you.” I got the impression that she and her brother, as well as Robert’s own son and daughter had loved him a lot and all had suffered through what had been done to him…
After the service the family repaired to the crematorium for the Committal while the rest of the gathering was invited to attend a social in the Ring o’ Bells pub opposite the church. This was an opportunity for us supporters and Robert’s family and members of the community to meet each other, should they or we so wish. I was indeed glad to be able to have a few words with his partner, herself battling cancer…She told me that he had said over and over again that he wasn’t ready to go as he hadn’t finished the work. He needn’t have worried – WE are going to carry on this work, in celebration of his example.
Following a very generous tea we were invited to occupy one whole wing of the pub in order to exchange reminiscences about Robert. Ruby played us into this part of the afternoon with her wonderful harp music, then there was enough time for at least a handful of us to share our thoughts. I saw it as an opportunity to tell members of Robert’s family and community how greatly loved and admired by the public at large he had been for his stance against child-abuse, of which they might not have been fully aware but hopefully they now are.
The afternoon drew to a close with Brian Gerrish wowing us with his increasing virtuosity on the violin – if Brian ever gets weary of putting out UK Column News he can always pick up his fiddle instead!
All in all it was a great send-off for Robert and we felt he would have enjoyed it. But in retrospect it was so much more than just saying goodbye to this lovable and ‘righteous’ man who seems to have been so many people’s close friend, and so much less of an end than a beginning!
In fact I confidently predict that our unprepossessing hero may down the line be recognised as having given rise to a new movement that is more and more going to take over society, lock, stock and all smoking barrels, to rid our world of this horrible infestation of child-abuse in all its ugly and execrable forms, in fact of all forms of cruelty. At which point this planet will stop being some kind of perpetual penitentiary, a place of continuous wailing and gnashing of teeth but rather a place of happiness, freedom and plenty for all, the garden of life and place of love and laughter it was always meant to be, a jewel throughout the whole universe!
Well I’m going to dream on, anyway and I rejoice that thanks to Robert we’re on our way now and there will be no turning back.
Here’s a short video of the end of the church service: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfZ3LmgBqG0&feature=youtu.be
And please see attached some pics, including of the wreath I sent on behalf of all in our community who were unable to be there on 29th April. But as I already suggested to those attending on Monday, we will be holding an event in Robert’s honour sometime during this year – suggestions please for a suitable venue as equidistant as possible to both north and south, east and west of the still-UK.
And here again is SpiderCat’s beautiful tribute to Robert as he lay dying (although I was still obstinately hoping we could save him in the nick of time and refusing to accept how near the end he was…) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhR8m7JNZx8&feature=youtu.be
But finally I did have to accept, and realised it was ‘Time to say Goodbye’… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVShqn30thI
PS Several people asked after Anne & Hollie, are they aware of Robert’s passing, are they well? Sorry to say I am no longer in touch with them. I was told only that they are now living abroad, but I have no idea where and the person who told me didn’t seem to know either… Hollie is 40 this year. I believe she might owe her continued safety and health to Robert but also to another as yet unsung hero, whom one day we should also thank…