A small but colourful send-off was given to Ronnie Ward this morning (Friday).
A crowd of around 30 people gathered at Grantham Crematorium Chapel to attend the funeral service of the well-known and liked Grantham character.
Ronnie died at his home in Riverside in June last year. An inquest into his death this week recorded an open verdict but the coroner confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances.
Ronnie’s coffin was led to the chapel by Robert Holland and was brought in to the sounds of ‘What a Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong.
Sitting atop the coffin was a floral arrangement in the shape of Ronnie’s Mohican, created by Sue Hodgson of Flowers by Holland.
Several members of the congregation wore bright clothing or hairpieces, as a fitting tribute to Ronnie, who would walk around the town centre wearing multi-coloured Mohican headwear and bright ties.
The funeral service was given by Robert Holland, who gave a moving service to “quite a remarkable gentleman”.
Mr Holland also read out a few words from Ronnie’s niece Tina Barrett, and her husband Reg, in which they thanked everyone present.
The congregation sang along to the Battle Hymn of the Republic before prayers. Cremation followed and donations were collected to go towards the cost of the funeral.
* The Journal launched an appeal last week to secure a lasting memorial to Ronnie.
As the funeral was funded by the local authority, it was a simple cremation and does not allow for any lasting tribute.
We hope to raise enough money to pay for either a 10.5cm x 7cm bronze plaque on the granite book by Grantham Crematorium Chapel, at a cost of £702, or a dedicated rose bush and plaque for Ronnie, which would cost £2,476.
Anyone who wishes to contribute is asked to visit our JustGiving page. Cash donations can also be made at the Journal office, in St Peter’s House, St Peter’s Hill. Any donations received over £2,476 will go to the Salvation Army in Grantham.
The appeal has so far raised £330, through donations and a collection at Morrisons.
* More pictures and coverage in Friday’s Journal.