David Crane, who died in November, was a Red Hill old boy who became closely involved in the "Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children" project. For memories by fellow Redhillian Ralph Gee, see here: "A Lost Expert in Talk Management". For David's own memories of Red Hill, see here: "Red Hill School Memories".

On July 6th the family organised a celebration of his life in the Leicestershire village of Leire, which had been their home for many years. The evening began in the garden of the Queen's Arms, the pub which had been David's local: food, reunions, new meetings, a poem, and toasts. As it grew dark torches were lit and everyone walked together through the village to the top of the hill. It was topped by a broad flat field, where David used to land his microlight. The torches lit the bonfire. The bonfire blazed. 

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 At the pub, Jon Field read a poem he had written celebrating David. He'd flown over from Australia to join the family he'd grown up with. The poem is presented with his permission:

 

Ode to DOC

 

From Jonny

 

The house shook as he thundered down the stair,

And in burst DOC in his underwear.

"Jonny fuck off, and George go to bed"

Cowering by the Aga with our eggy bread.

 

A phenomenal man, an incredible Crane

The enigma will not be repeated again.

 

"Let's build a rocket and fly to the moon

You might have thought he's a bit of a loon,

But he taught us to try and to "Bloody well do it!"

He made us believe that there should be no limit

 

A phenomenal man, an incredible Crane,

A legend that won't be repeated again.

 

Pipe in one hand, and blue cheese in the other

With the sternest of looks, that he could deliver

"This year I'll get fit and tone up my big body"

As we stood by the fire with another hot toddy.

 

A phenomenal man, an incredible Crane,

His likeness will not, be repeated again.

 

We are poorer without you DOC,

But nothing will dim the Crane legacy,

Matt, Harry and George with heads held high,

Will now forever look up to the sky.

 

We're here for you Val, and on you will go,

Wrapped in the love, we're all here to show,

 

Away as am I, I remain by your side,

As David smiles on with perpetual pride.

 

So David (pause) do you have any final lessons?

Yes boys, don't trust those politicians!

 

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David was an immense person, in every way. He helped to energise the Other People's Children project and the Planned Environment Therapy Trust through the depth of his thought and questioning, which never stopped short of reflecting on and questioning himself. He was immensely repected and valued in the Trust. Archivist Craig Fees was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Leicestershire to meet and enjoy the presence of David's family and friends on behalf of everyone at PETT.

David and Katy Pentith of Wennington met during the Other People's Children project. They immediately sparked off one another, forming a great friendship which continued to develop after Other People's Children. Jon Field gave her his copy of his poem - she lent it to be used here. Katy travelled down from Cumbria for the celebration, and her friend Barbara came from Warwickshire. As Barbara said, it was a beautiful warm evening for a bonfire; and it was a too-short twenty minutes of fireworks to say thankyou and goodbye.

 

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