Next Wednesday it will be exactly 20 months since Russell died – 610 days. Next Wednesday will also see the start of the inquest into how and why he died. This seems like an incredibly long time; it has been a year since the police finished their investigation and the Health and Safety people took over. In some ways it will be a relief to finally know the true facts about what happened that morning, but we know it will be a traumatic and distressing experience to re-live the sequence of events that led up to the needless loss of a young life. No-one expects to go to work one morning and never come home.
Looking back, it all seemed to happen in slow motion. Russell said that he felt slightly uneasy about taking on the job; it wasn’t what he usually did, it was just planting trees, but it was only for a couple of weeks, and as he’d agreed to do it he didn’t want to let anyone down by changing his mind. Russell’s little dog, Callie had recently been very ill; about three weeks previously she had had a major operation to remove several tumours, and was making a slow recovery. Russell had booked an appointment with the vet for the evening of the 17th June, with the possibility of having to have her put to sleep if she was no better. However, she perked up considerably that afternoon and he cancelled the appointment. Some of us had planned to be with him and Callie for that appointment and when it was cancelled, that meant we didn’t see Russell on the Monday. I sent him a text around 8am on the Tuesday morning to ask how Callie was, he replied almost immediately (unusual for him), to say that she was still asleep when he left for work at 6 am but seemed peaceful, and he thought she was getting back to her normal self, he also said he would ring and keep me updated on her progress when he got home. That phone call never arrived…
We still don’t know exactly what happened. We have many unanswered questions; there are so many “what if’s”; so many more things we want to say to him but cannot. So hopefully, next week will give us some answers to our questions, we do need to know what happened. If anyone would like to know how things go next week, please don’t be afraid to contact us; we will need your support. We would never have got this far without you all. Also the inquest is a public hearing, anyone is able to attend; it is scheduled to last for three days, and a jury will decide the outcome.
On a happier note, plans for planting another tree are now well under way. We have got the OK from the Parish Council to replace the tree on Saturday 28th March. The tree we have chosen is an Amelanchier Lamarkii.
It has pretty white flowers in the spring followed by small red berries and a lovely autumn colour. It is also happy to grow in a clay soil. Many thanks to Margaret for suggesting this tree. We will be sad to see the other tree go; perhaps it was always going to be unlucky, but I will keep the two leaves I picked and pressed just after planting it.
You are all invited to the tree planting, we will put more details on Facebook nearer the time; as before we are planning to plant in the morning and then adjourn to the pub for lunch. We look forward to seeing you there.