Zach Barber

31 March 2012 – 11 October 2015

The saddest, most heartbreaking words I have ever written.

Our 3 yr old grandson Zach lost his battle against cancer in the early hours of yesterday morning, Sunday 11 October 2015.

He was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma brain tumour in January of this year. It is a long word almost unpronounceable but is in fact a very aggressive cancerous mass on the brain. Following chemotherapy and radiotherapy he was given the all clear in July. Within a month it had returned and a month later he passed away.

October 24th was the day of Zach’s funeral. These things should not happen; it is against the order of things that old people outlive the young.

I wrote the following for my daughter Anne-Marie’s memory book.

This poem has been used in films and TV; in Judge John Deed, Midsomer Murders and last year in Coronation Street. It was only recently discovered that it was the work of Mary Elizabeth Frye; but in this version the words in the middle are mine.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the cry of geese over the River Lea
I am the splash of ducks as they dive for feed
I am the late running green line bus
I am the speeding train’s London’s rush
I am the songs of Disney TV
I am the laughter on CBBC
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die.

It proved to be a breaking point and I stepped back from my involvement in Hertford.

I had hoped that the Hertford Town Centre Urban Design Strategy would breathe some life into the town. All it produced was another list of everything that has been discussed, argued over and beaten into pulp by every possible combination of town centre committees and seminars. If I have copies of all these then someone else must have too at Council level and saved us all £100,000 to hire a team of consultants to regurgitate it.

As we near the end of 2015 the position regarding Waitrose in town is as unclear as when negotiations started in 2013.

The ex-Mayor Colin Harris once told me that I had been punching above my weight for far too long. Trying to form an opposition to the established pattern of things in this town has become more like punching my fist into thin air.

However I can look back over the past fifteen years and know that some good things were achieved; not always by myself but with the help of so many good friends and colleagues. In some chronological order:

Chairman of the Folly Island Residents Association
5 Fun Days
1 Hertford Music Festival
1 Continental Market
Hertford Town Watch
Hertford Pubwatch incl Behave or be Banned
Farmers Market
New Christmas Lights and much needed infrastructure
Christmas Fayres
Taxi Marshals
Hidden Hertford
Training Courses
New businesses in town
Business database
Editor of Ward Times

I have missed a few but it is exhausting just listing that lot and remembering the time and effort spent by all those who were also responsible.

Thank you for those 15 years.