Henry’s parents visit henry’s grave at Deerhurst Church every day, and friends and family visit regularly. The grave is always colourful, with flowers reflecting the seasons, and needless-to-say a collection of ornamental dogs.
We are currently raising money for a memorial bench to be placed in the church, so that when we all visit, there will be somewhere comfortable to sit and reflect.
2020 will ever be remembered as the year of the Coronovirus outbreak, and National Lockdowns. As we were in partial lockdown for the anniversary of Henry’s passing, a few friends and family joined Rev Kay Mundy for a socially distanced short reading and prayer at the grave.
For his Birthday, we received a spectacular array of flowers, which were placed on Henry’s grave, but with no ‘service’ this year.
On 15th September 2019 Henry’s parents Bob and Laura donated a vein scanner to Gloucestershire Hospital Children’s centre. This donation of £3000 came from Henry’s memorial fund. Alex Lovell from BBC Points West (who Henry infamously ‘took the microphone from’ on Children in Need, has remained in contact with Bob and Laura, and she came personally to film the presentation.
On many occasions, in Gloucester hospital they had struggles to find a vein to fit a canular for Henry. This became increasing more excruciating for him as his small veins began to collapse from so many medical procedures. In Birmingham Children’s hospital specialist cardiac ward, they had a vein scanner to help the process. The handheld scanner shines a green light when held over the skin, and all of the veins show as black shadows, assisting staff to ‘find a good vein. Henry was determined that they should have one in Gloucester.
The presentation was shown on BBC Points West throughout the day on 15th September.
Bob and Laura were up early to join the Mark Cummings show on Radio Gloucester. The team at Radio Gloucester have become firm friends having worked with Henry in 2015 and 2016. Radio Gloucester have continued to keep in touch, and are always pleased to hear an update on fundraising activities. As always with Henry, there was a story to tell about the scanner….
‘Willygate’ (the vein scanner story)
Whilst living in Birmingham Children’s hospital hoping for a transplant, henry’s veins were becoming increasingly difficult to access, and it was decided to give ‘better access’ for drugs, he was to have a ‘long line;’ fitted. In short, this meant accessing a vein in his arm, and feeding the line right up through his veins until it reached his chest (carefully avoiding his heart). Ordinarily, given his complexities, this would have been done under a general anaesthetic, as it was a painful and tricky procedure. As Henry’s heart was struggling so badly, he bravely agreed to have the operation awake (with no sedation). Prior to the procedure, it was imperative to prepare him thoroughly to avoid infection. He placed his arm through a hole in a plastic sheet, with the sheet forming a seal around his arm, and the ‘apron like’ plastic sheet covering his body to keep him sterile. At this point the vein scanner was used to locate the vein, ready to guide the line through. Perking up with mischief at the sight of the scanner, he asked for a try of this intriguing machine. We should have known better…
Having spent 20 mins ‘sterilising him from top to toe’, he held the scanner, put the sterilised hand into his underwear and started to scan his nether regions for veins! The lovely (and ever patient Doctor) shrieked ‘Oh No!’ You’re going to need 5 days flucloxacillin (antibiotic) now. This didn’t deter him a bit. Having previously been told that any major event (such as the Watergate scandal) has the word ‘gate’ at the end, when finished, he went around the ward for several days asking if they had heard about the ‘Willygate’ incident.
It seemed completely fitting at all levels, that the vein scanner was a fitting tribute to him at Gloucester Hospital. We’re pleased to report, that it was found to be so valuable, that the hospital are even considering a second one, as it is in so much demand. Henry would say, ‘I told you so’!
Henry should have been leaving Primary school in July 2018, instead we were all marking the 4th anniversary of him passing.
To leave a lasting legacy to his school, Henry’s parents presented a hand-crafted solid table and seats to his Primary school, these were placed in the Year 6 garden, along with a pink rose (his favourite colour). The bench was inscribed along two sides with his mantra, ‘Never Ever Ever Ever give up’, and a small plaque is placed on another side. The £1000 needed for this came from a donation from his memorial fund.
Today, Laura and Robert Bromberg went to to Gloucester Hospital Children’s Centre. At the gathering were Henry’s grandparents; Michael Loader the storyteller (who was such a great pal of Henry); staff from Readathon and some hospital staff who knew him well.
A brand new Readathon bookcase was being donated to the hospital in Henry’s name and was presented by another great friend of Henry, Tweedy the clown (who is currently hosting ‘Jack-In-The-Beanstalk’ at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham). It was a very positive, upbeat occasion in keeping with Henry’s character and a lovely cake was made by Clair Drew for all who were there including staff and children staying at the hospital.
Michael the storyteller and Tweedy then went round the ward entertaining the children , with their differing and wonderful varieties of hilarity.
The pantomime season is in full swing! Henry was a familiar figure at the Everyman Theatre.
When he was young, as a member of their Saturday morning drama group but in later years, putting memorable performances in as one of the children called up on stage to engage with the pantomime dame and Tweedy the clown (usually on New Year’s Eve).
Henry was much loved at the theatre for his wit and humour, and as a result the collections taken this year will be for Readathon. The matinee on December 3rd is in fancy dress with the audience encouraged to dress-up as book characters.
Over forty schools have signed up to do a Readathon so far as a result of this publicity!