The 18th of December is a date that will be forever etched in my mind. The day we lost Andy Gray.
I won't go into the whole run up to that horrible day but Andy and I had been working together in Milton Keynes rehearsing for Sleeping Beauty. We had been billed as 'Pantomime Royalty' and both of us were ecstatic at working again together.
When the show was cancelled due to new covid restrictions Andy went back home to Perth to spend Christmas there. I don't think I've seen him so low. Even during his massive fight with Cancer he kept up.
Within a few days he had told us he had tested positive for Covid 19 and he wasn't feeling well on Christmas Day. He was taken into hospital shortly after that and put on Oxygen. Then we were told the dreaded news that he was on a ventilator.
He fought as only Andy could for more than two weeks. But as we now know he didn't win.
'The Boys' Andy Pickering, Jordan Young, and Grant Stott were devastated. We had, as a group been Zooming every week since the first lock down. We couldn't believe our pal, our stage partner Andy was gone. Andy's beautiful partner Tamara and his daughter Clare and grand daughter Anna we left desperately trying to come to terms with it.
It's been a week now and every morning as I wake up it's the first thing that comes into my head.
I cant imagine what the Panto will be like this year without him.
The tributes to him were unbelievable. They went on and on every day. Friends, acquaintances fans, celebrities, were all stunned.
To think that he had beaten Cancer and then to be taken so cruelly by this terrible disease.
We will, I hope, when things get back to normal, do a wonderful memorial for Andy.
So what else can I say. Andy we will miss you so so much. A reviewer of one our pantos a few years ago said :
'40 years from now grannies in Edinburgh will be shaking there heads and saying how they remember the great days of real panto at the Kings , the days when they had Andy Gray and Allan Stewart.
I was very proud to part of the team. Panto will never be the same again.....it's the end of and era.
Cheery bumps Andy xxxxx