Mick Peat (1940 – 2021)

(An imagined version of what I’d like to have witnessed and been a part of, had I not been denied, prohibited heart-breakingly by living in a Coronavirus household. Written in exiled house-arrest.)

Fritchley, Derbyshire, February 19th 2021.

I don’t do God — but I’m fine with those who do. I’m standing on the little triangular village green at Fritchley, socially distanced midst a growing vigil and respectful crowd. I would have been proud to help bear Mick’s casket into the small Methodist Chapel, set it down and leave but I’m not allowed in these pandemic times. There’ll be no hymns, no singing. How can this be right for a man who at his heart was so full of song and music? Canon Dave Perkins, one of the best, a fellow-travelling musician and vicar to the Duke of Devonshire will, without any doubt be brilliant. He’ll salve a soul, he’ll bring a tear and he’ll raise a laugh — just as Mick did — and all entirely appropriate.

We wait.

Without singing there’s no sense that something so emphatically important is going on behind the chapel door.

Eventually Mick is trolleyed out to the waiting hearse and denied the singing of “Rolling Home” from the green, we offer a round of applause with heartfelt protocol averse shouts of “More!”

And he’s gone.

But there will be more. And the countless who loved him will see to it.

He was taken too soon. As I said to start with – I don’t do God.

John Tams x