Thursday, 6 December 2012
President on the death of his cousin Jeremy Sorrel
This isn’t easy – far too mixed up and complicated, but it’s part of being me and being a President. I’m not a President with a very confident Presidential manner I fear and this blog will confirm it. I don’t have even a small number of the right questions, and even fewer answers. I’ve also found that as I get older I find it harder and harder to have opinions about lots of things that I used to find necessary.
But my cousin Jeremy has died and I’m sad and troubled. He was a few years younger than his brother Jonathan, who in turn was a couple of years younger than me. As a child I remember them both very well. Jonathan was and is one of the brightest people I know. He is a brilliant musician and composer and he now lives in Malta with his family. Jeremy had Down’s syndrome and wasn’t brilliant or a composer. We have not kept up with our Cousins very well and now I regret it. Malta seems far away and Jeremy was well, Jeremy. He lived an independent life and we wrote letters at Christmas. He was a regular Church goer with strong views about what kind of Church he would go to. My Uncle Graham, his father, was a professional singer before he retired and for many years was a baritone with the brilliant St. Paul’s Cathedral choir. Jeremy used to visit his father at work and on one occasion, after Matins, processed out with the choir and clergy, taking the place of the Bishop behind the Dean. It was frowned on. But it was Jeremy. He used to write to Prime ministers and the Queen, to famous people and his local Mayor. Their replies were put up in the Church.
But I didn’t give Jeremy time and as I saw a full Anglican Church for his funeral who all loved him, the local Mencap group and his daily helper so moved by his death, I felt I had cheated myself. He was a good cook and I hadn’t known it or tasted his food. I feel sorry and ashamed that because he was Jeremy I hadn’t gone out of my way to visit him. We sang ‘Be bold, be strong, for the Lord you God is with you’. I’m quite sure my Uncle would have found that hard – hardly Purcell, Bach or even Rutter. But it was Jeremy and he was a precious individual in the sight of God who he learnt to love and follow. He was man of humour and emotional intelligence, integrity and loyalty. He was my cousin and I’m proud of him and sad he has died.