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Bless this van and all who travel in it…

St Anne’s priest presides at ‘floral tribute’

20 September, 2019 — By Tom Foot

Father Simon Buckley blessing the van in Soho

THERE was a first for St Anne’s parish priest this week when he blessed a florist’s van.

Father Simon Buckley performed the unusual ceremony in Soho Square after being asked to officiate by a Soho flower seller.

Storm Flowers’ van was destroyed by a falling tree in April, which also narrowly missed a staff member.

Father Simon Buckley with Joao Rocha

Father Buckley said: “Joao Rocha, who owns and runs Storm Flowers, is a member of the St Anne’s congregation and asked me if I would bless his new van, the last one being written off when a tree fell on it in Soho Square, only just missing one of his employees who was inside it at the time.

“It is the first time I have been asked to do something quite like this.

“I’m more used to praying for God’s blessing on people – but it felt right that, alongside Joao paying his insurance, we should pray that all who use the van should be safe on our streets, and that the van itself furthers his business which brings such stunning flowers and pleasure to people.”

Florist’s narrow escape when the tree fell in April. Photos: Storm Flowers

The van had been bought because of new pollution regulations on vehicles driving in central London.

But high winds caused a giant tree to smash its roof in shortly after the “ULEZ” rules were introduced.

The store posted online they were “delighted” with “simple blessing for our new Storm Flowers Van”, adding: “With a busy Christmas season ahead, we’re taking no chances – after ‘Treegate’ in April, when a huge plane tree fell on our van in Soho Square, thankfully missing our florist Filo.”


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