There are loads of people have hugely impacted me…but one person has been more on my mind recently.
When I was 12 I started to go to a local church, and met a couple called Ray and Anne Hughes. Over the years they became like grandparents to me, and I was especially close to Ray. He wrote me letters throughout Uni and I really looked forward to seeing them every time I went home.
Recently I went home for the week, and when I went to church I received the most awful news – Ray was in hospital and had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
He never left the hospital, and died on 2nd March 2012.
Ray was a retired pastor, and had worshipped and served at my home church for over 15 years (I think) – he was encouraging, genuinely lovely, kind, friendly. He had the greatest, deep voice and when he prayed, the way he said “Oh Lord” really struck me – I could hear God turning his face towards him. Everytime I saw Ray he had an encouraging word, a comforting hug.
It hasn’t sunk in yet that he’s passed away. Sometimes I forget, and then I remember and I feel overwhelmingly sad. He was the granddad that I wish I’d had, and I feel so blessed to have known him.