(Originally delivered on Saturday 6th August 2016, at the Walled Garden, Moreton, Dorset.)
There are a very few people with whom you cannot ever truly lose touch, who remain at some level in your life. Who are never far from your thoughts. If we are lucky enough to know one of these people, we think of them as a brother, a sister.
You are a brother, Pete.
I was fifteen when we first met. And we talked. We still talk. I'm pretty certain that anyone who knows you knows that no one sets the universe to rights quite the way you do.
We influenced each other too, formed each other's tastes. Those comics? Books? Movies? Yeah.
Pete, when you told me that you'd met someone, and that you were getting married, I became genuinely excited, and it has been a privilege to have met you, Mel.
Pete. We have this film that's been a touchstone for us both, since we were teenagers. At one point, the protagonist's father says to him:
A person needs new experiences. They jar something inside him, allowing him to grow. Without change something sleeps inside of us and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.You've never been afraid of change, and you've always embraced the various phases of your life, for better and worse, with the same cheer and enthusiasm, that same heart, that same stoic wisdom that you had when we were teenagers and we formulated detailed plans about what we were going to do with our lives.
Life took us to unexpected places, but the places we're in now, I think they're pretty good. And we always stayed awake to change.
This has not changed: I have always been proud to call you a friend. I still am. I always will be. And I extend this regard now to your new family with every last bit bit of warmth I can muster.
I wish you both every happiness.