Tonight’s practice was finished with quite a few sad faces all around the tower as Darren Osborne, Development Officer at Rayleigh bid his farewell to the band before moving back to his hometown in Devon.
Darren has been running the practice nights since February and working with the Ringing Master to get the band ringing better and encouraging all band members to improve their skills. And he was just getting into his stride and producing results when sadly his wife Laura, aged 39 passed away at the beginning of June. Darren took the decision to return home to Devon and tonight was his final practice night before he moves.
Not that it made much difference to the practice tonight. Darren ran it exactly the same as every other week, with the exception of calling for a touch of Plain Bob Major and calling it “his final touch”. This was rung excellently by the mix of experienced and not-so-confident ringers and at the end, after a few nice rounds Darren finished with “Stand, and goodnight” which added a finality to his ringing as a member of the Rayleigh band and it all went a little sombre for a little while. Darren said afterwards that he chose the word “Goodnight” rather than goodbye as it’s not a goodbye.
He will come and visit whenever he can and is looking forward to the Rayleigh Outing in October which he will definitely be back for. Darren was presented with a good luck card signed by the ringers in the tower.