16th September 2016
你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do,
Good old Pete, good old wee man. A short arse, an annoyance as a kid alongside his clan of brothers. “Millions of Ridyards all ynder one roof…” I’d sing mocking the Toys ‘R’ Us theme tune. It was never aimed in bitterness. Not once. This was a sign of typical Mancunian knobhead-like affection towards our very own band of brothers, of sorts. We were close growing up and every after school evening involved avoiding homework or trying to break away from being grounded. Not just Pete, or Dan, but me too. We got in trouble often but we never aimed to hurt anyone. We never did. Well maybe the odd golf cart driver chasing us tha managed to crash into a tree. Hell, Pete took one in the back from a low-flying golf ball. That did teach us not to nip over a golfcourse on a short cut.
Pete leaves behind too many souls. He was a Dad, Partner and stepfather amongst his tribe of brothers and sisters. Being a popular uncle and brother-in-law was natural to him. He just knew how to be entertaining without trying so much. Every catch up with Pete, even as we both grew up and did adult things like move to another place, get real jobs and develop mature lifestyles, catching up was awesome. Every year we’d share stories like we were together yesterday. There’d be no hiding things or holding back. Between the best of friends everything was mentioned. The unwritten rule of spilling the beans or exposing raw emotions was a certainty. Pete was a fun guy, he could make an uneasy situation comfortable. It may have involved a fart joke or some social commentary about my height. Between me and Pete, we always had “Little and large” banter. Always. Again, it was never meant in hurt, just respect because for a small bugger, he knew how to have a big heart. Even after a few growing up fights between each other, we remained friends. Jumping and hopping along “the pipes” or “the monkey bridge”, bounding over “the brickie”, drill-marching at air cadets (“Form a squadron of three wanks.” I’ve never heard Pete laugh so much at James Cliff’s ill-advised instructions), wandering the streets of Reddish, Levenshulme, Burnage, the Heatons, Gorton, etc. Seemingly endless days.
Pete and Dan convinced me to start trick or treating. I wasn’t and still can’t confess to have ever enjoyed Halloween, however, when it comes to harmless fun [don’t knock a strangers house, was a lesson mum taught me early on], Dan and Pete managed to override my instinct a few times. I mean, what harm can trick or treating be as schools go back in the first week of September? Or taking a Guy Fawlke doll out mid-October? It tied in well with our carol singing commencing early November. As Pete said, it wasn’t begging, it was more something to do for entertainment. We were entertained and it kept us from playing knock a door run and other daring dares. I’m not sure how Robert Hanna was caught by a guy wearing only his underpants, in knock a door run… or how a scarecrow the size of a giant ended up sat on top of Kwik Save’s roof… but I am sure, sat star-gazing on Cringle Fields, one late night (after 9pm, back in the day), Pete and I chatted about the future. It remains the deepest conversation I had ever shared with him. He was an intelligent but often lazily placed character, who over the years, I noticed his maturity etching through and a toughness of character biting away his inner demons.
There are so many tales of our adventures, Dan, Pete and I walked back from Hough End (the other side of the world/far end of Manchester) via Heaton something or other, and I ended up falling down a manhole cover and breaking my leg. As I cried my eyes out, Pete laughed, “John was this tall, and now he ain’t tall.” He copied my disappearing action whilst Dan and I locked in on the laughter too. I genuinely forgot the pain. That night’s bath, I stretched my leg inwards and I felt the crack surge with venom. Mum took me to the hospital at Manchester M.R.I. where a fracture was spotted. Had Pete not got me laughing, we’d have wasted an ambulance journey and some tear-filled tissues, earlier that day.
One Christmas Day, I received a Falcon, silver, mountain bike, from mum. Dan had his new bike. Pete had his chicken chaser. On a ride down Lancashire Hill into the town centre of Stockport, it transpired that the bike was loosely assembled. I flew head over tit into the ground. Pete helped me up. We laughed. The next day we all cycled to Lyme Park and back. Not bad for kids under 15 with no sense of direction other than where we went stomping.
In summer 2011, Pete, Dan and I went camping near to Morecambe and Hess Bank. As no campfires were permitted on the camping grounds, we hiked up the coast, set a camp under a tree and gathered driftwood. Messers Jaeger and Beer joined us. So, did Brian the cow. Pete named the cow. A lesson in cow anatomy was followed by a surreal debate about cow gender equality. After our Blitzkrieg-style bonfire, we sleaked back to the campsite. Dan slept in his car. Pete farted him out of the tent. I struggled to use any air in the tent. The door was zipped wide open all night. Gnats versus Pete’s farts. Gnats was favoured. The next morning as we leisurely woke, a audden explosion from a nearby tent’s gas cooker rattled out. Pete ran to check the man as we all grabbed fire extinguishers. Thankfully nothing too serious. Fearless and caring, Pete checked, double checked and then we slipped away having done all that was possible, beyond the “Slow Children Crossing” sign that seemed so inappropriate, and made Pete laugh. The following summer involved a wild camping trip with Adam, Steven, Peter, Dan and I. A spot of rafting, numerous campfires, tales over a shopping trolley full of drinks and nattering made for two very good nights indeed.
You were one of my best friends. This Friday, when your body is laid to rest, I am with your spirit and your family. We grew up together. Me, you and Dan. You two were brothers. I was not. Yet we are brothers. I’ll miss you forever my friend.
To Peter, rest well my friend.
On Friday September 16th Peter will be received into Blackley Crematorium Centre Chapel for service and committal at 2.00pm. Family flowers only please, donations preferred to the Oliver Ridyard trust fund. All further
enquiries and donations contact Michael Kennedy personally at Greater Manchester Funeral Service Moston on 0161 681 1864.
We owe it to those who we have lost, to share memories and carry their spirits on. Onwards and upwards together.
再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye