Sunday 26 June will be the inaugural Celebration Day. Founded by a group of friends, it is a day to remember and celebrate the lives of people no longer with us. Here, Guardian readers share their tributes to loved ones.
‘I’ll be celebrating her legacy of music’
My mother, Rosanne Pollott, passed away in 2001. She was an incredible mum, inspirational teacher and wonderful friend to many. I’ll be celebrating her memory – and the legacy of music she passed on to me – by performing with friends and colleagues at Staple summer fair in Kent. I’ll be singing and playing piano as part of a group doing “old time” songs, dressed as “Lord McGatsby IV”, fully in line with my mum’s love of silly humour.
Richard Pollott, Canterbury
‘Stephen delighted audiences around the country’
My best friend Stephen Bacon died on 19 June 2015. Kind, loyal and hilarious, after trying his hand at a variety of jobs with great success, in his 30s Stephen finally pursued his lifelong ambition to perform and retrained as a drag act, at Dave Lynn’s drag academy in Brighton. For several years, until lung cancer cut his life short at just 42, Stephen delighted audiences around the country and internationally as his alter ego Lady LaRue. He is commemorated with a plaque on Brighton Pier, with one of his catchphrases – exclaimed in disbelief, sometimes mock, sometimes real – “Good HEAVENS dear!”
Hugh Smithson-Wright, restaurant PR, London
‘I will always keep talking about him’
My dad, Arturo, passed away in August 2020 after being diagnosed with angiosarcoma, a rare cancer. He was a bad dancer, liked to sing loudly to make us laugh, and loved the Bee Gees. Dad could only listen to Hotel California when it was blasting on the speaker. He loved watching cookery shows (but never making anything from them) and history programmes, while trying to tell my sister and I fun facts about them. He laughed at the most “dad” things that we didn’t find funny. I will always keep talking about him. He deserves to be remembered.
Cat, West Sussex
‘I know the kids would have loved him’
My dad, Dohn Prout, died in 2007, before I met my husband and my children were born. Even so, we talk about “Grandpa Dohn” – about his being a Canadian in the UK since the 70s; his career first in creating cold weather shelters for those experiencing homelessness, and later managing an ancient stone circle; about his inability to stop smoking; and his love of pancakes. A deeply irreverent, rather shy man, he wasn’t easy for people to get to know. But those who did valued his honesty and energy. As I prepare for a new job in a charity working to end homelessness, I’m thinking about him more than ever. I know the kids would have loved him, especially his Daffy Duck impression!
Emma Prout, charity finance manager, Bristol
‘She was the quintessential cool aunt’
My dear auntie Bertha celebrated her 100th birthday in August 2021 and passed away in October. Until the end she would refuse to FaceTime unless she had a chance to check her lipstick. The older sister of my grandmother, she had no children of her own but was the quintessential cool aunt. She was the one to share boy drama, style questions and a wickedly strong G&T with. I’ll celebrate Bertha with what she called “jingles” (the first drink of the evening, named after the noise ice makes in the glass) and remember every time she advised me to buy a hat, to believe in myself, or to embrace my fears. I’ll miss her firm hugs and her wonderfully cutting cackle.
Ana, marketing technologist, Amsterdam
‘Eivind was a very rare person’
Eivind was a very rare person. He was warm, adventurous, vivid, supportive, intelligent – and looked like a Hollywood star. He was like an older brother to me, despite being a little younger. We visited each other in different countries, went on trips around the Faroe Islands, and to concerts in Denmark – but the best times were our long conversations about life. He was happiest, I think, when he had become a father – something he had always dreamed of – and when he and his partner of many years planned to get married. Eivind was a surgeon and was highly respected among his colleagues in Norway. Rest in peace, my beloved friend.
Sigri Gaini, The Faroe Islands
‘He would have been a brilliant uncle’
My brother, Kevin, passed away unexpectedly 10 years ago. It feels like yesterday. He was a kind and caring brother, but we also had a healthy sibling rivalry. We both became qualified lawyers out of a sense of civic duty, and I miss talking to him about our work. I like to remember how we’d laugh at the same odd things, and once spent an unduly long bus journey examining the intricacies of the knock-knock joke. I loved him so very much and am sad that he never got to meet his nephew and niece. He would have been a brilliant uncle.
Naomi De Silva, solicitor, Nottingham
‘Rosie was selfless’
My wife, Rosie, died aged 50 in March 2021 after a short fight against lung cancer. Rosie was a warm, loving person. She worked as a psychiatrist in the prisons in and surrounding Bristol, after working in the drug and alcohol service for nine years. She was selfless, never judgmental, and touched thousands of people’s lives in a positive way. We miss her very much.
Matt O’Brien, mental health nurse, Bristol