The Warden sent this message to the Forest community on Monday 14th December:
When Heath Corkery died a year ago while he was in Y13, we committed to take care of Heath’s memory here in the Forest community. Meeting that commitment has been difficult in some ways during a year when we have all had to spend so much time apart and have been denied the opportunities to share so many things by the need to be ‘distanced’. However, in other ways it has not been difficult because the memory of Heath is such a strong one for all those who knew and loved Heath, for those who worked with him, and enjoyed his friendship, and felt his care for them. From what I know, and from the way his friends talk about him, Heath didn’t do ‘distance’, and Forest has certainly kept his memory close.
So, through this year, we have borne a strong sense of grief at the loss of one of our community, but we have taken Heath with us, remembering him as good, and true, and generous in spirit. And, funnily enough, last year in the midst of broken-heartedness, it was precisely those things that Heath demonstrated in life as a Forester that allowed us to continue in the face of his loss.
Today, we will light a candle for him in the School Chapel. His family – Gil (his brother) and his parents (Gerry and Claire) are very much in our thoughts, of course. And I hope they feel the warm metaphorical hug that we Forest community are giving them today.
I believe strongly Forest is always a caring place, even when it means just being here for pupils and their families. I know that this year has also been a time of loss for others in our community too. A number of pupils have suffered bereavements and, again, our thoughts and warm good wishes go out to them as in their sadness and grief.
At Forest, we often end services in Chapel or other school ceremonies with a well-known Irish blessing. I hope it is a blessing that speaks everyone in our community, regardless of their faith or culture, and I will read it to close with:
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
The rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand