Brave Bulwell boy Andrew Pickering’s final words inspire musical

Andrew Pickering
Andrew Pickering

The memory of a special little boy from Bulwell who died 21 years ago is to be honoured with a musical inspired by his final words.

Just before Andrew Pickering died, aged seven on March 29th, 1994, after a battle with leukaemia, he told his dad Gary: “Don’t blame Jesus, dad, it’s not his fault.”

Andrew arrived in the nursery at the age of three and quickly endeared himself to everyone. He was talkative, friendly, and always enthusiastic. For the next four years he was at the centre of the life of the school, fully immersed in all kinds of projects and adventures designed to promote learning and foster creativity. Andrew was a great child

Sue Aldridge

His then-headteacher at Southwark Junior School, Sue Aldridge, was inspired by the youngster to use the words in a song which became the centrepiece of a musical called ‘Who is this Jesus?’ which has since been performed all round the world.

Sue said: “Andrew arrived in the nursery at the age of three and quickly endeared himself to everyone. He was talkative, friendly, and always enthusiastic. For the next four years he was at the centre of the life of the school, fully immersed in all kinds of projects and adventures designed to promote learning and foster creativity. Andrew was a great child.”

He was diagnosed with leukaemia and so began a long battle to regain his health.

“We prayed he would get better. But near the end I visited him and I changed my prayer to ask God to be with him. When he died, his dad told me what he said and it seemed to me that my prayer had been answered. I used his words in the chorus of a song about the crucifixion.”

Sue is still in touch with Andrew’s parents Helen and Gary Pickering, of Bulwell, and has invited them along when the musical is performed next month at the Minster School, in Southwell.

The production aims to question and explore the life and legacy of Jesus Christ. Sue added: “When you’re in a situation with no hope it’s important that your faith comes to the fore.”

Who is this Jesus? was first performed at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall by 300 school children.

It was rewritten by Sue for seven prisoners, who performed it in the chapel in Nottingham Prison, where it was filmed and made into an award-winning documentary by filmmaker Peter Taylor.

Who is this Jesus? is being performed at 7pm on Saturday, 4th April and Sunday, 5th April , at the Minster School in Southwell. To buy tickets, at £7, call 07505 510 160 or 07983 563620. Children’s tickets are £5.