Brigid Coggar went to her eternal rest on February 1st, 2014 after a long battle with cancer. Heaven gained a true earth angel that day and Straide community lost its champion and very dear friend.
Brigid was the type of person that you could meet with the weight of the world on your shoulders and by the time you left her company not only were you laughing but that weight didn’t seem so bad anymore. That was one of the many beautiful gifts Brigid possessed.
As Brigid’s first anniversary approached a group of us got together with the intention of raising some funds with the blessing of Brigid’s family to buy a bench in her memory and make a donation to Cancer Care West. An organisation who had been so good to Brigid and many more in their cancer battle. It was hoped to donate to a local Straide charity too.
As it happened Brigid’s first anniversary fell on a Sunday and that was the date of her anniversary mass – so we decided after Brigid’s anniversary mass when all her beloved family and many many friends were in Straide, that was when we would hold the 5k – “Brigid’s 5k” We felt the day encompassed Brigid to a tee – Mass, a walk around the village she loved, with the people who loved her. Giving to the local community and to those who helped her in her brave battle to in turn help others in their battle. Our ducks were lining up nicely for us.
The route was picked and word spread – help came from all directions – neighbours, friends, old school friends all offered help – from marshaling the route to traffic management, tea making and sandwich making – Brigid would have been so proud – the community she loved rallying together.
The morning of February 1st arrived bitterly cold but bright – a hard nights frost had fallen and we didn’t know would Brigid’s 5k happen… but Brigid, as always was working her magic for us and the sun shone brightly from mid-morning and all was well.
As we were setting up the hall that February morning; making sure the tables were set and ready to register a little robin flew into the hall, it hopped along to each and every registration table as if to check that all our ducks were indeed in their rows.
That day it was remarked by young and old alike that they never saw so many robins, the beautiful little birds flew close to all who attended and mingled on the ground among the walker’s feet. Little signs telling us all would be well.
The crowd surpassed all our expectations – Brigid’s loyal family and friends travelled from far and near to honour their dear friend. Post 5k we gathered in The Copper Beech for refreshments and prizegiving – and we talked and laughed about the day and the days that had been.
When we calculated the monies raised it went way beyond our wildest dreams! It was decided to donate not only to Cancer Care West but to Ss. Peter & Paul’s Pastoral Council of which Brigid was its leading light and to Straide Community Development Group – to get the hall back up and running.
On Sunday 31st May 2015 we unveiled “Brigid’s Bench” on the Green in the heart of Straide – to its left the ancient Abbey, to its right Sts Peter & Pauls Church and straight ahead – Brigid’s home – places our dearest Brigid loved so much.
When you pass through Straide take a moment to sit on Brigids Bench and see for yourself the parish and community that Brigid loved worked so hard for and the community that miss her still.