That name may not mean anything to you, so let me back track slightly. Alex Godbold is our next door neighbour’s son.
And on Monday afternoon this week we learnt the devastating news that Alex had died in a tragic accident on Saturday night. Alex was 22.
I literally put my hands to my mouth and said “oh no, oh my god, no”. I couldn’t believe it. The Godbolds have been our neighbours for almost seven years, since we moved in and are great. Always there with an offer to look after our cats when we go away or to sign for a parcel for us if we are out.
I have mentioned them in blog posts a couple of times, such as when our cat climbed their scaffolding and sat on the end of their bed. Or when our fat cat hangs around their guinea pigs for a hand out of food late at night. They came to our wedding. We have shared gin and tonics. Sung along to the music in their garden if we have been sitting in ours. When we had a massive legal issue surrounding our house (only discovered the day we moved in) they offered us a lot of invaluable background information on the builders and previous owners. They were very understanding when the roof above our hot tub flew off, in its entirety during a storm a few years ago and landed in their garden.
Alex is their only son, and brother to their daughter who is equally as cheery and wavy (and who has a great taste in music that we can sometimes hear if her bedroom window is open in the summer. Couple of times I have stopped for a little sing along on our drive before driving off).
Alex was always ready to wave if he was on the drive washing his car as we pulled out, or asking after us all if we had time for a chat. To hear of his sudden death has been devastating. The idea that we will no longer see photos of him uploaded to Facebook by his parents or his sister at family gatherings is desperately sad. And the downside of social media. You can find yourself looking at his Facebook page and just shaking your head, thinking “how can this be possible?” God knows how his mates are all feeling.
We have some idea of how his parents are feeling, having lost Bruce’s brother suddenly a few years ago. It’s gut wrenching. But I can’t fully comprehend the grief of losing a son in such tragic circumstances. Or a brother. Or a much loved buddy.
Alex’s dad, Jon, emailed me today with details of the funeral and pointed out that there should be no flowers, but they would like donations to be made to a local charity that do a lot of great work with local youngsters. An organisation called Fleet Phoenix. In their own words:
I am all for empowering teenagers and think this charity does amazing work. A thought shared by the Godbolds. Alex had received all sorts of support from them and was often seen on his BMX with his mates near their offices. Charlotte who runs the charity is a good friend of theirs, and knew Alex well.
When my teens were younger they attended their Hype discos, with me safe in the knowledge they were having a good time and that their drinks would not be spiked. Funding for these services has been withdrawn by the local council so it is vital the charity raise as much money as possible privately.
Hence the Godbolds wanting to remember Alex in this way. Hoping that in some small way his death may be able to help other youngsters, with whatever support they may need. And Jon asking if I would share news of this organisation with you in the hope their existence can reach a wider audience.
Thank you so much.