|Piotrs' colleagues en route to the memorial|
The church was packed. Rows of fluorescent orange vests indicated the large numbers of Piotr’s colleagues who had come along, while there was a healthy contingent of local residents too. Joining them were senior managers from Serco, who employed Piotr and his colleagues, and the local police safer neighbourhood team.
There were contributions from each of the above, but one stuck in my memory more than most because it was an indication of the man that people clearly held in a great deal of respect. The Chair of the Ashchurch Residents Association Fiona Anderson recalled an encounter with Piotr during last Autumn when he was busy dealing with the annual deluge of leaves. Piotr had said hello and Ms Anderson expressed sympathy with the amount of work the annual leaf-fest was generating for him. “Oh no” replied Piotr enthusiastically, “it’s worth it because look at the beautiful trees!”
That infectious love of life and the world around him seemed to charecterise every other memory of the man and I left the church with a real sense of loss. His wife had attended as had many of his family from Poland. At the end of the service we had a rendition of the Polish national anthem on the church organ, that I suspect mangled the tune a little bit, but everyone stood in respect to the man and what he’d brought to our community.
Back outside on the walk back up the Askew Road, I saw some leaves gathering in the gutter, and it all seemed such an enourmous waste.