In the last week or so, two people I knew and worked with have died. The first, as many will be aware, was Andy Hocking. A fantastic police officer who knew his beat, his people and his town like no other and who died unexpectedly last Saturday. The 6000 strong procession on Saturday just gone just shows how loved he was. I had the privilege of working with him on a number of Falmouth events and Andy was just lovely – aware and helpful but never putting barriers in the way of making great projects work. His daughter Megan did work experience with us a few years ago too.
The procession on Saturday was organised in a week (and chukkas to Matt Barnicoat and Falmouth Police for making it happen!) and Andy’s sudden death has brought together the town and its police to say a huge thank you to Andy for his work, his approach and his unfailing smile. It’s been picked up by the national papers as a good news story and a celebration of his impact. Andy has left us with an incredible legacy of positivity, productive police/community relationships and has drawn us together in a way that none of us expected.
The second person is Albert Riddle. Now there won’t be a procession for Albert, but just the usual funeral etc because Albert was 90 and his death is the next stage on his extraordinary journey. Albert has been the life and soul behind the Royal Cornwall Show for decades, taking it from 25000 attendance in 1957 to over 110000 when he retired in 1989. I say retired but Albert remained involved in the Show right up to the end. He was a proud Cornishman and rightly proud of the agricultural sector, focusing on promoting and supporting it in every way he could.
His legacy is the ongoing viability of the Royal Cornwall Show as one of the best shows in the UK and it is the ongoing positive impact of the event on the agricultural sector in the county and beyond. Agricultural shows are perhaps an outdated form of event (discuss!) but Albert fought to evolve the show to provide more reasons to come for his audience and to get more people interested in agriculture. The economic impact of the show, in itself and in the wider sector, is huge and an even greater social impact.
The bringing of people together is what these two men had in common and is what will be their legacy to the communities they served. This is the power and value of events, in any sector, and we can only aspire to have the impact that Andy and Albert had. May you rest in peace Andy and Albert and thank you!
Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky