Reading Street pastors have been going out during the daytime from about 2 weeks into lockdown & spending time in the Forbury park where the tragic fatal incident took place recently. The day after the incident at the request of Thames Valley Police we were able to put out teams during the daytime & early evening, many of the volunteers who had been going out during the daytime were Response Pastors so we didn’t need to call on any other areas. We did two patrols a day for three days & during this time we spent many hours talking to the Police at the cordons, many of whom has been drafted in from other areas & so didn’t know Reading at all. We were able to direct the public to places avoiding the cordons. We were able to listen to people’s outpouring of grief & shock as to what had happened on that warm sunny Saturday evening.
We were present at the two vigils that were held over the last two weeks & again to just be able to listen to people. Today the park was open & we were there at the opening, over the lunchtime period & earlier this evening.
We had many conversations with people who had come back to enjoy the beautiful park that is right in the centre of Reading & for some it’s their garden. Incidents like this can put people in touch with their own mortality or even trigger things like anxiety, bereavement etc it was a blessing that we have been out all those weeks in the town centre & Forbury Park & that we were able to be a presence to Listen, Care & Help our community at a great time of loss.