JANICE White is not dead! She is actually very much alive and enjoying a happy retirement in Suffolk.

However, if rumour and speculation have anything to do with it she would have been pushing up the daisies three weeks ago.

It seems some of you took my reference in February 3’s Fresh News column that I “said farewell” to her meant she had popped her clogs!

I can assure all our readers that “said farewell” means exactly that. After 13-plus very happy years Janice has retired and moved away.

St Margaret’s and Stanford-le-Hope said goodbye to her in a very moving service at the end of January.

We will miss her greatly, but many of us will visit and correspond with her and her friend Barbara. Their influence will be felt in our parish for decades to come.

I write so often about the loss of friends through death so it is nice to reassure you a good friend is alive.

However, I know that Janice would be the first to affirm that she (like me) actually “died” many years ago!

What on earth do I mean? The “collect” or special prayer for Easter Sunday says “grant that we being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ may reign with him in glory”.

Christians believe this “giving up” time of Lent actually means putting to death the worse part of us, so the good may thrive. This time most of all is when we need to die to self so we may live for others.

After all, whatever your belief, it’s a dead certainty we all need a good life! – John.