Cotswold Life

On our wave­length

Richard Blun­dell took his ex­pe­ri­ence of con­tract­ing coro­n­avirus and turned it into a pos­i­tive one, cre­at­ing a com­mu­nity ra­dio sta­tion

- Charity · Society · Chipping Campden · Northleach · London · Guns N' Roses · Facebook · Cirencester · Bath · Parachute Regiment · Suez · Cyprus · Bourton · Minchinhampton · NHS Charities Together · Philip Harris, Baron Harris of Peckham · Evening Chronicle

Sor­row at the loss of Jecca Brook – who died on May 21, aged 82 – has re­ver­ber­ated around Chip­ping Cam­p­den. But when her fu­neral took place on June 6, lock­down meant it had to be a pri­vate fam­ily ser­vice.

How­ever, that wasn’t go­ing to stop peo­ple mourn­ing this ex­tra­or­di­nary lady, who was such a force for good. On the day of her fu­neral, the streets of the North Cotswold town were qui­etly lined with res­i­dents de­ter­mined to pay their re­spects.

A nurse from the age of 17, Jecca’s kind­ness and huge sense of hu­man­ity led to her found­ing the char­ity Cam­p­den Home Nurs­ing in 1990. Trained in pal­lia­tive care, she had helped care for her own par­ents, al­low­ing them die peace­fully at home. As a re­sult, she un­der­stood both pro­fes­sion­ally and per­son­ally the ut­ter im­por­tance of good end-of-life care.

She be­gan her char­ity with £3,000, raised through do­na­tions, fundrais­ing events, and even bak­ing her own bread to sell. To­day, Cam­p­den Home Nurs­ing is a jewel in the town’s crown; last year, it nursed 178 pa­tients and pro­vided 5,386 free reg­is­tered nurse hours to the com­mu­nity.

Hun­dreds have paid trib­ute to Jecca on­line, prais­ing her kind­ness, gen­eros­ity and great sense of hu­mour. Her hus­band, David, their two chil­dren and grand­chil­dren have tremen­dous rea­son to be proud.

A new por­trait of Jecca, gen­er­ously do­nated by lo­cal artist, Andrew Fer­gus­son, will soon hang in pride of place at the of­fice head­quar­ters in Chip­ping Cam­p­den.

Good morn­ing, North­leach town! Good morn­ing, Bour­ton-on-the Wa­ter! Good morn­ing, Europe! It’s another glo­ri­ous Cotswold morn­ing all the way across the me­trop­o­lis that is North­leach. We are truly blessed to live in this amaz­ing part of the world.

From Richard Blun­dell’s Break­fast

Show on Ra­dio North­leach

Way back in early March, be­fore lock­down started, North­leach res­i­dent Richard Blun­dell was at a meet­ing in Lon­don. Shortly af­ter­wards, ev­ery­one who’d been there fell ill with coro­n­avirus symp­toms.

Which wasn’t great.

But what was great was the way one of the group, ahead on the ill­ness curve, sent re­as­sur­ing mes­sages to the oth­ers.

“I took great com­fort from my friend say­ing, ‘I’m on Day 4. This is what’s hap­pen­ing: it’s OK; you’re go­ing to be fine,’” Richard says. “And I thought to my­self: I know for some peo­ple it’s go­ing to be re­ally bad. But, for the vast ma­jor­ity, it will be fine. One of the worst things about all this is the fear.”

Back in North­leach, he and his fam­ily – wife, Laura, and eight-yearold daugh­ter Lot­tie – went into self­iso­la­tion… And Richard be­gan to form a plan. An am­bi­tious plan (he knew that). “But I wanted to do some­thing to cheer peo­ple up; to re­alise that, as a com­mu­nity, we could get through this to­gether.”

His idea? He’d start a com­mu­nity ra­dio sta­tion to try to bring some of the

Para-ath­lete Jonathan Brough from Minch­in­hamp­ton fea­tured in our pages re­cently af­ter rais­ing funds to get him­self an all-ter­rain wheel­chair. Aged 32, he’s been paral­ysed from the neck down and per­ma­nently at­tached to a breath­ing ma­chine since he con­tracted menin­gi­tis at 19. True to form, he’s us­ing his new chair to fundraise for good causes. He’s just com­pleted routes to­talling 100km in less than a month for Great Run Solo, notch­ing up more than £1,000 for NHS Char­i­ties To­gether. And he has now em­barked on GNR [Great North Run] Solo, a chal­lenge to do 40 “runs” in 78 days, fin­ish­ing on Septem­ber 13.

You can see some of Jonathan’s first Great Run – in­clud­ing his fi­nal lap and vic­tory spin - on his Face­book page at www.face­ brough.3

And you can spon­sor him for his GNR at just­giv­­ing/ jonathan-brough6

Cirences­ter Park Polo Club has sadly an­nounced the death of mem­ber Philip Har­ris. Dur­ing a pres­ti­gious ca­reer manag­ing news­pa­pers, his many achieve­ments in­cluded over­see­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of a full-colour web off­set press at the Bed­ford County Press in 1968 – mak­ing him the youngest web off­set man­ager in Europe; and as chief ex­ec­u­tive and manag­ing di­rec­tor of the Bath Evening Chron­i­cle, he founded the Cap­tains’ Club for busi­ness lead­ers in the city.

Born in Lon­don, Mr Har­ris joined the Para­chute Reg­i­ment af­ter school, see­ing ac­tion in Suez and Cyprus, and tak­ing part in the 3 PARA para­chute as­sault on El Gamil air­field dur­ing the Suez con­flict.

He will be deeply missed by his wife, Es­ther, his son and daugh­ter, and six grand­chil­dren.

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North­leach, Glouces­ter­shire
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