A beautiful memorial bench celebrating the life of Richard Brooke has been installed as a lasting legacy in the gardens of Stanley Grange.
Paying tribute to Richard, who died in January 2022, his sister Carol writes:
‘Son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, uncle, and a proud Best Man at my wedding to (another) Richard.
‘Considering that Richard was given a life expectancy of only six years when he was born, he rather outlived that early prognosis. Stanley Grange was his home for over forty years, a place with new friends and an extended family, where he grew up, blossomed and clearly felt very content, active, fulfilled and self-confident. The best part of his visits home was returning to Stanley Grange!
‘His pleasures – swimming, animals, Dr Who and the Daleks (until the good doctor regenerated into a She and that was the end of that) wrestling, football, rugby, and female company …..
‘And that smile, which lit up his whole being.
‘He also had a mind of his own and could be as stubborn as a mule. He was however capable of great affection – broke two of Dad’s ribs through one particularly enthusiastic hug. And years later, with me at Stanley Grange, a prolonged embrace of two or three intimate minutes – ” I love you Carol. “
‘In his later years, Richard had to overcome many hurdles, and on the whole he showed remarkable tolerance, resilience, patience and good humour.
‘The following poem, ‘Return Again’ by Andrew Motion was read at Richard’s funeral. I share it with you all.
Your stepping inwards from the air to earth
Winds round itself to meet the open sky
So vanishing becomes a second birth.
Here home and elsewhere share one mystery.
Here love and conscience sing the same refrain.
Here time leaps up.
And strikes eternity.
Groundsman, Ben Hill of Future Directions CIC said, ‘We found the perfect place for Richard’s bench. There is a cycle path that runs through the woods. Towards the end there are two grassed areas on either side of the path that have three outside musical instruments for people to play when they walk around. The area is surrounded by trees setting it apart from the rest of the woodland. The grass on the left has a large oak tree in the centre which provides shade. I think this would be perfect for the bench as Richard loved his music. It would give people a reason to linger in the area and also enjoy music being played whilst enjoying the scenery and wildlife.’
Lorraine Chapman, Operational Network Manager and Business Development, Future Directions CIC said, ‘Richard was a big character, with a wide variety of interests. He was popular with all and his passing has left a huge gap in our lives here at Stanley Grange.’
Thanks to Richard’s family for this lovely, lasting memorial which we will treasure for years to come.