Our CVM Group in Mid-Northumberland is made up largely of older – and some quite elderly! – men, perhaps bucking the trend elsewhere in the UK. Sadly, this means that occasionally we have to inform the group that one of our number has died.
Fred Swainston, who passed away recently, was in at the beginning of our group in 2008 and, until his recent illness, was a virtual “ever present” at our Saturday get-togethers. He joined us on trips out and was my sole companion on a hike around Holy Island earlier this year. We had a special time that day, made all the more poignant now by his passing.
Fred was a quiet but caring family man – so quiet you would hardly notice him except when there was something to be done or some word of encouragement needed. Fred would be one of the first to be there in each instance.
I visited Fred regularly in the last few months before his death. Knowing that he was dying did not affect the peace of mind he had, the confidence he had in God and the certainty of his place in heaven through his Saviour Jesus Christ. Fred’s serenity and good nature during this time, despite his illness, was an inspiration.
At our Breakfast Meeting this morning, some of our “not-yet” Christian members, both old and young, were particularly moved when hearing about Fred. I guess that our older members may need the element of assurance Fred’s story brings and our younger members need Fred’s inspiration to lead a life at the end of which they can know the same peace of mind and confidence.