Last week Suzanne and I were given some seeds, not just any seeds, but Forget me Not given to every mourner at the funeral of one of our volunteers, Steve Harrington. Ever since I have been working at Offshoots, 71 year old Steve and his wife Maureen, have been here every Tuesday, or Saturday if they couldn’t work on Tuesday (loyal volunteers have their own flexi time!) both contributing to the upkeep and maintenance of the site.
A retired engineer, 71 year old Steve died suddenly on Sunday 15th July and he is sadly missed here at Offshoots, both as a volunteer and as a friend. Our Mr Solve-it who could fix anything, stayed cheerful whatever went wrong, wore out or broke, always coming up with a solution!
Steve was the first to admit that he wasn’t a gardener, but with a site like Offshoots there is always something to fix, and fix he did. Fences, gates, wheelbarrows... you name it he could fix it. He took great satisfaction from working out where all of the hose pipes went once they disappeared underground, and it became his personal mission to solve this, especially as the year hotted up and watering became more crucial.
One day Steve was working near to the apiary, at the same time that the bee inspector was shaking up the bees. Steve was stung, not just once but three times! Everyone else was ok but for some reason the bees took their agitation out on Steve. We suggested he should move away, but he wanted to get that particular job finished. That was the sort of person he was. Always finished the job in hand and had a lovely cheery manner to go with it. He had a great sense of humour too and when I saw him next, he pretended that he was being attacked by bees again, but this time with a metal bee that he’d bought at a garden centre! Steve’s bee now has pride of place in the cabin at Offshoots.
Steve may not be here anymore but he will live on at Offshoots in every gate, fence and watering contraption that he sorted for us and in the Forget-me-Not seeds we will sow in his honour, which will grow here at Offshoots next spring. And as for our lovely Maureen, she tells me that she will be back next week ... volunteering as usual.