Here is a bit about Charlie and what he meant to Rosie:
“Charlie grew up on the West coast of Scotland, where his parents lived on an island for most of his childhood. He moved down south after university where he studied accounting. He quickly realised a desk job was not for him and having always loved the fresh air and green fields, started his own garden landscaping company, Bayleaf Garden Services.
He lived in the local area, originally in West Ashling and later in Funtington, and was known and loved by so many. He had three children, Harry, Lucy and Johnny, who now all live in London. He later married my mother, Mandy, and inherited three more stepdaughters! He was an amazing stepfather to me and my sisters and we became an incredibly close family right from the word go. I look back now and can't believe how lucky we were to have such an amazing family.
Charlie was an excellent cook. I'm sure that's the first thing that comes to mind when people think of him. There was nothing more exciting that returning from university after 3 months, to the smell of slow roasted lamb coming from the kitchen as I walked through the door. Charlie would be there by the oven, and once he had given me a huge hug and a kiss, was back by the oven stirring the gravy, insisting he didn't need any help and it was all under control. Which it always was. Or it would be a Sunday summers’ afternoon and we would be having a BBQ with his favourite marinated chicken thighs, sausages, burgers, salads coleslaw. You name it, it was there. I still have friends messaging me for his recipes now, they were that memorable. But what he loved most was that it was these times that brought us altogether.
He would sit back at the end of the table and watch us cry with laughter when we were together, knowing he was so proud of the family he had. Nothing compared to those moments.
Charlie died on August 20th 2016 from cancer. He was diagnosed 2 years earlier and had a long fight. The last few months were the toughest and my mother was nothing less than a heroine the way she cared for him and supported him every step of the way. The miles she travelled to the Royal Marsden and back for Charlie's treatment must have been in the thousands. But the love she had for him was unlimited. Her love and strength shined through and kept the family strong when Charlie no longer could.
We will all miss him so much. However, we are fortunate enough so have shared so many memories with him: the countless holidays back to Scotland, the place that he loved to share with those closest to him; the Christmases'; the birthdays... We must not look back with sadness but instead be happy and grateful we had them in the first place. Times some people will never have the chance to experience in their entire lives.”
Charlie had one amazing ability above all, to bring people together. He was so generous to those he cared for and gave us a family many would dream of. This day is to not only to fundraise for a very special Hospice that helped us so much in the final few weeks, but to celebrate Charlie's life and bring those who knew him together once again, to remind ourselves of the wonderful memories we shared with him.