On 28th January 1994 two really close friends of mine were tragically killed in a freak accident. Jon (Jonathan) Boast and his fiance Jayne Miller were killed when the car in which they were travelling collided with a massive oak tree. It happened on a quiet country lane in the hamlet of Ayot Green Hertfordshire. Jason the driver of the car was also killed. Neil, one of Jon's lifelong friends also in the car was seriously injured. Their car was being followed by a second car in which Julian Hodge another close friend of Jon's from childhood and Jon's father Bob were travelling. Jon was 29 years old and Jayne 28. It was my first experience of losing someone close to me other than a grandparent. I have grieved for them ever since. Jon's Dad was the gamekeeper on the Brocket Estate. Each year in January there was a shoot, called the Young Boys shoot, when beaters and gamekeepers went on a pheasent shoot - something usually the sport of only the rich. The shoot was over and they were all on their way to The Waggoners pub - a favourite local haunt.
But they never made it to the Waggoners
Their car collided with this gnarled oak tree. Jon and Jayne, travelling in the back, were killed immediately. Bob witnessed the tragedy.
It is a parents nightmare to lose a child, to lose a child and his fiance in the year they were to marry was tragic.
Jon and Jayne are resting in the churyard at Ayot St Peter
They are Together Forever. I used to visit them regularly, I still visit at least on the anniversary in late January each year. In 2011 I created this series of images for a project on my university course. I've not published it until today. As if the events of 28th January 1994 were not horrific enough what happened afterwards is more tragic than fiction could be. Neil spent a lot of time in Stoke Mandeville with serious spinal injuries. During the following years aftr gaining some mobility he twice attempted suicide, once driving under the tailgate of a parked lorry. Julian got engaged three years later but not long before his wedding in 1997 he took his own life. Julian's mother died of a broken heart shortly afterwards. Julian and his Mum are buried together in a grave just a few metres from Jon and Jayne.
So Jon and Jayne were reunited with Julian and there in the churchyard they rest.
I only knew Jon for about eight years. We worked together and we played together. Jon was a live wire, a straight talking, hard drinking pal of mine for whom I had the greatest respect. Everyone who knew him loved 'Boasty'. I've never really understood exactly what happened that day. Bob and I have chatted many times about it. I used to want to know more, why they died and why their death had so much impact on others. More recently I've come to terms with the fact they are gone, we had some great laughs together and it was a privilege to know them. I've lost touch with Neil. Think it's time I popped round and share a whisky with Bob.