EDitorial ± 8-Apr-2008

In A Kent Churchyard

I see dead people. It's late one Sunday afternoon, not long after Easter, and we're in the garden of England ... in a graveyard. Specifically this belongs to the church of St Peter & St Paul in the village of Boughton-under-Blean. Near Faversham, if that helps.

Happened that the in-laws had hired a cottage for the week not far from Canterbury. On the way to our holiday pad, I'd suggested -- well, insisted -- that we take a minor detour through Boughton. Never been there before, but my dad's uncle (grandmother's younger brother) used to live there in the late 1940s. I had the exact address and wanted to check it out.

Which we did. There stood the tidy row of tiny Church Cottages on South Street: my great uncle Stanley Freston (!) inhabited number 2. He'd served in the war, been a PoW in Singapore, and gone into the fire service afterwards. Sadly he'd died young-ish in 1951, maybe in a car crash, leaving a wife, Jessie, and no children.

Decided later that couldn't leave Kent without a traipse around the churchyard, a mere pebble's throw from the cottages. 'Cos you never know, and there's the slim chance he might be buried there.

Fair few graves here, from new to old, from unreadable to overgrown. Was about to admit defeat -- this was a longshot from the off -- when I looked down to my right. There was the final resting place of Stanley Frank Freston, died 1st July 1951, and his wife Jessie Florence Freston, died 18th March 1998. It was as if he'd been calling out from way beyond. RIP Stan & Jessie.