Friday, 24 September 2021

200 mourners bid farewell to Peter Redding

THE mother of a man who drowned in the Thames in Henley said he had made her ?very proud?.

THE mother of a man who drowned in the Thames in Henley said he had made her ?very proud?.

Teresa Beddis was speaking at the funeral of Peter Redding, 34, who died when he tried to swim across the river after a night out on July 26.

More than 200 mourners attended the service at Stoke Row chapel on Tuesday.

A guard of honour was formed by colleagues from Reading Audi, where Mr Redding was a sales executive, some of whom had been with him on the night of the tragedy to celebrate a successful sales week.

His coffin, which was carried by four of his cousins, was adorned with a flower arrangement in the shape of a guitar and the amateur musician?s own acoustic guitar was carried in the hearse before being placed on the altar.

The service was led by Rev Sonia Jackson and Rev Daniel Jackson, joint ministers of the independent chapel.

Mrs Beddis fought back tears as she read her tribute to her son, which was called ?My loveable rogue?.

She said he was named Peter after Beatrix Potter?s rabbit character and his first toy was of Peter Rabbit.

?I also knew that the name meant ?rock? and little did I know how aptly named he was,? she said.

She said he knew ?instinctively? how to care for his younger brother David, who was born with a disability and died when Peter was six.

Mr Redding, who lived in Tilehurst, Reading, was brought up in Gallowstree Common and attended Peppard Primary School, Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common and The Henley College.

Mrs Beddis said: ?Peter got his first electric guitar at the age of eight. His dad, Roger, promised he would buy him a guitar if he learned to play a particular tune. He did just that and got his first Stratocaster guitar. His musical career had begun.?

She recalled that when she was pregnant with her daughter, Cara, 26, Peter threatened to live in the garage if the baby turned out to be a girl. ?When she arrived, his card to me was a beautiful picture of his new bedroom in the garage,? she said.

She said her son used to play the guitar and write song lyrics to escape family problems and would often spend Sunday afternoons practising at the sports pavilion in Gallowstree Common.

Later, he played in a number of local bands, including The Detail. When he left college he went to work at Wickes but soon left when he discovered they expected him to clean the toilets.

He managed to ?blag? his way through his interview at Audi. Mrs Beddis said: ?He was totally honest and would say how it was. When he said he was going to sell cars I said, ?how will you overcome the stereotypical image of car salesmen??

?He said he wouldn?t have to lie because the product was of such a high calibre. He was totally committed to Audi Reading.?

When he met his partner Rachel Wyel, 45, he relished the opportunity to share her nine-year-old daughter Abbey?s life.

Mrs Beddis said: ?He loved Rachel and told me on many occasions how happy he was.?

Mrs Beddis? last conversation with her son was on his birthday, four days before his death.

She said: ?He was cooking. I said, ?aren?t you meant to be meeting a friend for dinner?? He said, ?but I?m hungry, mum?.?

Mr Redding had held a donor card since he was 16 and his retinas and heart valves will be used in transplant operations for babies and children.

Mrs Beddis said: ?He will go on as part of someone else?s life and for that I?m grateful. The boy who left at 17 turned into a man who made me very proud.? Mr Redding?s uncle Chris Lush and cousin Rachael Hopwood read sections from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran before the mourners sang The Lord?s My Shepherd.

Mrs Jackson read a lesson and then spoke about Mr Redding, saying he had been ?becoming a man beginning to get his life together at long last?.

?Growing up, he was certainly a man who pushed the boundaries,? she said. ?Peter, like many young people, was searching for who he was. It wasn?t an easy time for him, never for those around him, and they loved him dearly.

?It was a struggle but he was a gifted young man who only in the last few years seemed to find what his life was really about.?

Mrs Jackson said the size of the congregation and the touching stories provided by friends to his family showed how he could offer love and support to those close to him.

She said: ?That gentler side of Peter didn?t often come to the front but he acted so often for the sake of others.

?He hadn?t become a saint. He was still pushing the boundaries with that adventurous spirit but he wanted to test the boundaries.? Mrs Jackson said Mr Redding?s death while trying to prove he could swim across the river proved this side of his character.

She said: ?He was trying to beat the water by showing his courage and strength to his colleagues.

?It was his own choice to go into the water and to attempt to swim across the Thames. We need perhaps to find the love in our hearts to forgive him for that choice.?

Following the service, a committal was held at Caversham crematorium before a reception at the sports pavilion in Gallowstree Common.

On the night of his death, Mr Redding had met 15 of his colleagues for drinks at the Angel on the Bridge pub both before and after going for a meal at the Spice Merchant restaurant in Thames Side.

Shortly before midnight, he attempted to swim across the river from Red Lion Lawn but when he reached the third arch of Henley Bridge he got into difficulty and suddenly disappeared. His body was recovered the next day.

The Oxfordshire coroner has opened and adjourned an inquest.

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