Family and friends gathered in the Rye community garden this Saturday to say a fond farewell to Rye resident and writer John Howlett. The sun shone, the wine flowed, a feast was laid on and children played in the lovely green space created by the garden volunteers. The tree that had been planted in John’s memory, shortly after his death, had flourished and there was surprise that the packet of wild flower seeds planted around it had grown in to a vibrant display as though John was smiling at us all.
We laughed and wept at memories shared. Friends from the literary and educational world spoke of his generosity and kindness as a mentor, his passion for education as a school governor, his love of political debate and the humour he showed in reaching out to those with different views, even though he might have initially given them a hard time. We realised, as stories were being told, that he had the gift of making us all feel that we were special.
Ada, Isabella, Suzanne, Peter and their families made this a day to remember and was a fitting celebration of the life of a much loved man. They continued the warmth and hospitality that we have all enjoyed in John and Ada’s kitchen, making this into an occasion that John would have loved.
John’s creativity and passion lives on through his books.
Image Credits: Gemma Dilworth, Stephen Ashley-King.