If you'd like to be remembered long after your death, forget our modern notions of ashes from the mortuary or a smart grave somewhere. At least, that's the impression I get from the memorial to a local lad who died on London's southern A3 boundary.
Joey Evans was just 22 driving a pick-up truck when he was caught in a pileup with two HGV lorries and a van.
|Non-stop salute ... The traffic that killed Joey salutes him night and day.|
Each time I cycle to or from New Malden I see the memorial and wonder about its details.
Currently, a board covered in simulated grass hosts a plaque that shows Joey's portrait and brief details.
It tells passersby that Joey was killed back in December 2004. Presumably, the memorial has been there more or less ever since.
|Not forgotten ... This extraordinary memorial for Joey is refreshed often with the flowers changed every few days.|
Who is this fellow, this stranger to most of us, who is remembered for so long afterwards, and comparing the time, very much longer than most road accidents victims seem to be mourned, at least in public?
A look online produced a report from the Surrey Comet, dated 31st December, 2004.
Joey, it reveals, gained fame as a boxing champ at school. He worked as a roofer, lived at Swallow Park travellers' site in Hook Rise North.
20 black limousines
The newspaper reported, 'A glass hearse, pulled by four white horses, led a procession of more than 20 black limousines and trucks, from Tolworth to the church where over 1,200 mourners gathered.
'Dozens of wreaths were dedicated to the devoted Arsenal fan.'
Joey has me paying respects every few months, but doubtlessly every day thousands of thoughts are aimed his way from cars and lorries. The daily number is likely to be in the tens of thousands, and all through each night as well.
The makeshift memorial is modest and is hardly likely to distract anyone's driving. But because the flowers are refreshed so regularly, it's the sort of unusual roadside sight that won't go unnoticed. And curiosity is bound to make regulars want to find out more.
It must be that the schoolboy boxer, then youthful roofer, has won thoughtful by the millions since his accident. I wouldn't be surprised if the memorial rates as one of the most saluted milestones on British roads.
Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.