Saturday, June 11, 2011

Laughter and tears as friends near and far say goodbye to Andrew Reeves

Yesterday was a pretty harrowing day.  No getting round that.

A day when I was laughing my head off one minute and bawling my eyes out the next.

Saying goodbye to someone who's been such a big part of your life is never easy. I'm grateful, though, that I was able to share the day in the company of wonderful friends old and new. Lots of hugs were exchanged by people on the same emotional big dipper.

When I arrived at Waverley, Stephen Glenn was already there and Helen Duffett arrived a few minutes later. We then caught up with Sophie Bridger on the concourse before heading off to Jenners on a secret cosmetics buying mission for Jo White. We then headed for tea and cake and were joined by Jo, Sarah Harding and Mark Pack.

I'm also glad that many of us were able to congregate in one "online" place, no matter how far apart we were in real life, to share memories of Andrew on Twitter. Thanks to Mark Pack, who told me how to do it, I've collated all the tweets posted under the hashtag #andrewreeves into one place, so hopefully they will keep for posterity. I'm particularly pleased that people actually joined Twitter to take part.

Some of them were absolutely hilarious. Wandering round Glasgow at 2am with a 12 foot pole, Lady Mark? Swearing in front of Claire Rayner? Reeves for Mayor? In amongst the funny stories, were people posting how much Andrew had supported them and cared for them, young candidates talking of his encouragement and support. Have a look for yourself.

Stephen has already posted about the music at yesterday's funeral. Hardly traditional funeral music - Lady Gaga has not featured in many farewells, I imagine, but she was utterly and absolutely spot on for Andrew. Take That and the Pet Shop Boys also featured. Highly appropriate.

Michael Moore MP gave the tribute. And I have to say he was perfect. Seconds before he started speaking, I had been having a little bubble to myself, overcome by a moment of intense sadness. And I wasn't alone. Very quickly he had us all engulfed in spirited laughter.

He really captured how we were all feeling, and summed up Andrew perfectly and with great affection for his friend. He'd also asked me to collate a selection of tweets from the Twitter stream for him to include which I did with the help of the tea and cake crowd, It was good that people who couldn't make the funeral could be included in the day's farewells in that way.

After the ceremony, it got a bit comedy of errors like. It seemed that everybody was heading off to a particular pub. We made a break for it and discovered that we were the only ones there. Apparently plans changed after we left, but we were quickly reunited. In some ways it worked out quite well, because I ended up spending a while in the sunshine drinking gin and completely changing plans for next Saturday. Of which more later.

After a while in the "proper" rather than the breakaway venue, Sophie Bridger, LYS's fabulous president and I headed up to town where we found some of the Campaigns Team who were nicely pickled by that point. We went for a pizza and a laugh and a muse before heading home. I made it back at around 11.30.

It was always going to be a hell of a day - but being surrounded by lovely friends made it easier to bear.

And, I have to show you, are these not the best shoes ever to grace a funeral? That'll be why Jo's Twitter name is @jolovesshoes then.  Andrew would have loved them.

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