Yesterday was a profoundly sad day because my dear friend Michael Blande, pictured left with his great friend Martin, died very suddenly after suffering a heart attack. He will leave an enormous hole in a great many lives for he was a rock within his family , community and also in our parish in Pembury. A generous, kind and funny man who always had time for people and always looked for the best in them. This photograph was taken last weekend when I was his guest at his beloved Crystal Palace. How happy and healthy he looks. None could have suspected it would be his last visit.
A few months ago I posted a video of the transformation of our parish in Pembury. What struck me as I put the video together was how ever present big Mike was in every phase of work we undertook. He helped move every item of church furnishings and masterminded the felling of trees. In short he was always first to volunteer and he put a lot of sweat, blood and tears into building up a church in this place. He attended meetings and always accompanied me for a beer or two afterwards. It seems impossible than a man so full of life and energy can have been cut short like he was. I am going to miss him so much.
In time there will be more to share. But for now prayers. For him that his sins may be forgiven and that he may be held close to the sacred heart of Christ. For his wife, Liz, who brought him to faith and to whom he owes so much. For his children James and Becci- who he adored and loved so much. For his sister Liz and for all his extended family and friends. Rest in peace Mike Blande- I don’t think you ever quite realised the impact you had on those who knew you. May saints triumphant lead you on your way.
Here is the video of that transformation which serves well, for now, as a tribute to Mike. Thank you so much for all you did for our parish.