Hundreds of people attended the funeral of a war hero after an appeal in a weekly newspaper.
The Lytham St Annes Express published a death notice to Harold Jellicoe “Coe” Percival which appealed for service personnel to attend his funeral, because he had no immediate family nearby.
Following the notice in the paper, the appeal spread on social media and has been followed up by national newspapers, while also winning the support of comedian Jason Manford.
Mr Percival’s funeral took place yesterday, at 11am on Armistice Day, and was attended by hundreds of people, with the crematorium unable to hold the number of mourners who turned up.
Members of the public turned out with former soldiers and current servicemen and women to pay their respects to the 99-year-old, who served as part of Bomber Command during the Dam Busters raids in the Second World War.
Mr Percival died at a nursing home in St Annes but lived almost all his life on his own and it was feared few people would attend his funeral.
The paper reported at at his funeral, Rev Alan Clark told mourners about “the power of the printed word”, which had spiralled from a small newspaper advert to lead to the large turnout.
He said: “You have come in numbers surpassing anything that was expected. Not because you knew him, but because each of us has a common humanity.”
The death notice described Mr Percival as a single man with no close family who could attend his funeral.