A couple of weeks ago we had some awful news. One of our young crew members was killed in a motorbike accident.
Angel Gardens has been in business for ten years this year and over that time it has grown and developed into something very special. We’ve had our ups and downs like any business but as a business it’s success is not actually in its bank balance.. It’s in its people!
We are a family, a group of people from all walks of life and of all ages, class and creed…and it’s that family that makes us so special.
We may only work together for a few longvweekends in each year, but when you live together 24/7 you really get to know people.
I guess it was only a matter of time before we lost one of our people. I guess we never expected it to be someone so young and vibrant.
Jacob was 21 , he was a skater, motorbike rider, circus boy, fire performer, artist and musician.. He was creative, funny and kind.
For a young man he was responsible and gentle while still open and honest without trying at all.
I always say to my daughters that I know I can trust a young person when they don’t watch me to see if I’m watching them. Jacob never did this,. He would look you in the eye and talk to you with truth and humility. He was one of those people that was wise beyond his years… In a very grounded way.
He has been at his girlfriends and didn’t return home. We saw on Facebook that his mum ( also part of the crew) was asking if anyone had seen him… Over night the news broke that his body had been found.
His family are coping tremendously well, they are celebrating his life and are accepting the outpouring of love from his peers and friends. Of course they are heart broken. They are such a close and tiny unit.. I really don’t know what will happen now.
As a crew we were badly shaken, loosing someone has a knock on effect and everyone feels it.. Some knows Jacob more than others. The younger crew members where his friends, older crew members knew him as a son and fir myself, I saw him as a skilled worker who was a vital and responsible link in our chain.
So as we chatted together from our four corners of the country, we shared our grief, concerns and plans as the funeral came closer. Michelle, his mum, asked us to wear our festival clothes and our crew tshirts which we did with pride.
This is the post I put up for the crew who couldn’t make the funeral .
I promised many of you that i’d call and chat to you today about the funeral, but realised, i didn’t have the energy to do it over and over, so figured i’d write it down for you. I know many couldn’t attend but wanted to know how it went.. so here it is….
Just wanted to say how proud i was of the Angel gardens family yesterday, everyone looked splendid in their festival clothes, everyone one supported each other and everyone was a total credit to each other. The family had asked everyone to attend in their own festival clothes… so we wore our t-shirts and festival rags…. everyone looked lovely…
I did have a little gentle laugh to myself, the O’Briens arrived early and there was a funeral taking place, as the attendees were leaving they were very confused to find crowds of hippies, bikers and ‘weirdness’ lining the road leading unto the chapel. they must have been very confused 🙂
I was sat on my own at the crematorium as i was speaking, and i was terrified and emotional and feeling vulnerable by myself. when the Angel gardens family came in and stood at the side, they all gave me a squeeze as they passed me, just looking over at you all face me the strength not to break… thanks guys x
Shelly and Elliot did really well and were a credit to Jacob Mogwhy Chothia , the funeral was hard bit fitting in a very beautiful way.
As we arrived we all met and gave hugs and support, the Angel gardens gardens children took sunflowers in to the chapel and they all put them on the coffin on the way out. Angel gardens gave a bunch of sunflowers all tied up with an Angel gardens bandana.. these were from us all…. I wrote the words on behalf of us all, thanking him for his time with us in Angel gardens and asking him to enjoy the great big festival in the sky.
When Jacob arrived, he was escorted by lots and lots of motorbikes, we could hear them coming and it was a very emotional and amazing site as they passed, the smell of fuel, leather and the deep rumbling sound as they passed was unforgettable.
Jacob passed us and was in a coffin which was decorated with a magnificent tiger and the whole thing was painted in oranges and yellows, it was really beautiful;. There was a single floral tribute inside and it was from his family.
The service was strongly joyous, with laughs and lovely words about jacobs short life. The underlying theme was his ability to make people smile and his wonderful skills as well as the way he lived his life to the full. We all commented how nice it was to hear about his life outside festivals, we all know folks in our own way and we often forget its just a very small part of who they are.
The music was lovely too, with Three little birds in the middle of the service.. perfect!!!.. we sang this later too at the wake.
As we left the chapel we were all invited to take a little ‘peace’ sticker and stick it to the coffin, it was a lovely gesture and helped people say goodbye.
There was also a box of coins that Jacob had been collecting for years to make his handmade jewellery. everyone took one as a momento of the day and of Jacob’s life.
Of course it was upsetting and hard, seeing Shelly and her family struggle through such a difficult day was awful and we all found this really hard to witness. But we also saw the unity and support they had in place, so many ( and there were a LOT of people) all caring and supporting , we can all rest assured they will be guided and supported through these hard times and into the future.
After the ceremony we went to the Wake which was at a golf club near by, it was a stunning spot and with the weather so good everyone enjoyed the outdoors. Loads of people sitting around, drinking, smoking and in the end laughing and singing. There was a certain herbal smell in the air, which added to the atmosphere 🙂
The Angel gardens team supported Shelly by helping to add some music to the afternoon, Matt and Pixie Holly created music with Alison McNeil Tara Sykes Sara Rushworth Fraser Sugden Keith O’Brien and myself joining in with our voices.
A friend of Jacobs used his fire staff and performed and Kelsie span her poi. It was perfect.
It was sad, emotional, tragic, joyful, funny, happy and more… it was a perfect send off.
For those of you that couldn’t join us, thank you for your best wishes and messages, I have passed them all to Shelly and she sends her thanks….
Thanks to those that held their own little ceremonies in their part of the world. It was good to know the family and tribe were all joined together at the same time.
We are a family, we are a tribe… when we loose one of our own we feel it, even if we don’t know that person personally, we know it leaves a gap in our chain and effects us all.
We will move on now, we have decided to name the circus/games area in Angel gardens ‘Jacob’s Green’ and we will play and have fun here with lots and lots of children and we will support lots of young people as their develop their own skills and their own walk of life . We will look at designing a nice sign for next year and create a press release in the spring to introduce it. Anyone wanting to help let us know, we will collect monies for some equipment at some point and it will be a funded and non chargeable area for Angel gardens . as I say any ideas welcome for this.
But now we need to pick ourselves up and move on with the little bit of Jacob that you have experienced. Smile at his memory and send strength to his family.
If any of you need any support or need to share your thoughts, don’t be alone.. call me , call each other… use your Angel gardens family.
kind love and gentle hugs
You don’t feel you have the right to feel sadness in situations like this.. You see a mother and brother crumbling in grief and you berate yourself for feeling any kind of sadness.
But it’s ok to grieve for those who pass, even if you grieve more for those left behind than you do the deceased.
It’s always hard when it’s a young and good person that goes… Especially when it’s sudden and unexpected ! It hits everyone.
I was honoured to speak at the funeral and wanted to say something that explained how doe use Jacob was. I ended up writing loads but cutting it down to the essentials was strangely comforting.
I managed to speak without faltering, which was amazing really! I was so nervous and so emotional.. But when it came to it I knew my words where more important than my tears.. Somehow God gave me strength to talk.
Here is the full version.
Its such a cliche isn’t it? ‘Its such a loss’ ‘ he was such a great bloke’ ‘how tragic’
we all say these words, they roll of our tongue when someone we know passes to the other side
We all feel sympathy and we all feel loss, but often out of duty and from a distance.
But today, with Jacob, these words are not true, i mean really not true… in fact they really don’t do this awful situation any justice at all.
This awful unfair tragic accident, that has taken away someone that was more than just a ‘nice bloke’, its more than a ‘loss’, to us all, it is so much more than a tragedy,,,,, saying these words feels like an insult here today.
We are all kind of the same, we are born and raised with pretty much there same bits and pieces, hands, feet, toes, emotions, attributes and personality.
Of course we all have ways in which we stand out too, skills, qualities and our own way of treating others.
Some people aren’t very nice, others, like most of us, work really hard at been nice, we try hard to do the right thing, say the kindest words and feel the empathy we crave we should give…
but some, and there aren’t many, well… they are the special ones, the ones that stand out,
they are the Angels of the world.
They are the ones that don’t try to be nice or remember to say the right things,
they don’t try to work hard at helping others or make an effort to be generous or honest…
They just are,
they just do,
they just be.
Jacob wasn’t just a nice bloke.. he was a specular example of who we need to be. Its not a tragedy … i don’t know what it is.. i don’t know a word that works well enough.. but i do know he’s too special to not be doing something important wherever he is now
and as he leaves us here with our grief and memories… we all take forward his gifts… the gifts of knowing him… his energy his lovely gentle energy.
he is always part of us, and we will be honoured, honoured to know hime both in life and in death .. always, to be part of the family.
I saw grief in all shapes and sizes. My own daughters handled it differently. My eldest was great friends with him, she sobbed and was heart broken for his loss. My second eldest grieved for his mother and brother and for her sister. My husband grieved for his younger brother and I grieved for them all.
Seeing young people attend a funeral enmass is a sad but humbling experience. But I’m glad I’ve seen it.. Again I feel honoured .
Rest in peace Jacob. You will be so very missed in and by every part of your full and glorious life!
Finally I’m super proud of our Angel gardens family , they sang and played for him at the funeral, together they did what they do best… Be a tribe xxxxx