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Weekly bids to get permanent memorial for well-known local ‘character’

Ronnie WardA weekly newspaper has launched a campaign to raise funds for a permanent memorial to a “well-known character” from its patch.

The Grantham Journal is urging readers to contribute to the fund in memory of Ronnie Ward, pictured left, who the paper says “could often be seen strolling through the town centre wearing his colourful Mohican-style headwear and sunglasses.”

The Journal revealed last month that, following Ronnie’s death last year, his body had remained in the mortuary at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, for seven months until the local authority stepped in and agreed to fund a simple cremation for him.

As a result, several readers contacted the paper to ask if they could contribute towards his send-off.

Deputy editor Marie Bond said: “As there would otherwise be no lasting memorial to Ronnie, we decided the most appropriate way to help readers make a difference is to fund-raise for a plaque that will bear his name.

“This way, he will be remembered for many years to come.”

The Journal hopes 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.

A JustGiving page has been set up by the paper, while readers can also make cash donations at its St Peter’s Hill office.

Any donations received once the £2,476 target has been reached will go to the Salvation Army in Grantham.