RAF veterans and friends rally round to organise a proper send off for hero Stan who was about to have pauper's funeral (From Echo)
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RAF veterans and friends rally round to organise a proper send off for hero Stan who was about to have pauper's funeral
6:10am Monday 2nd December 2013 in News
A HEROIC Second World War bomber pilot who died alone in his home, has been spared a pauper’s funeral thanks to Thurrock’s Royal Air Force Association.
Stan Franks, who had completed 31 missions over Germany by the time he was 19, is to be given a hero’s send-off, complete with a flypast by a wartime Spitfire fighter.
The RAFA launched an appeal after it learned the 88-year-old decorated war hero had died alone in his home in Vange Park Road, Fobbing, last month.
The proud veteran has a daughter, but she is believed to live 250 miles away.
His death was only discovered when his regular waitress at the Five Bells, in Fobbing, became concerned she had not seen him at the pub and raised the alarm.
Stephanie Dwyer, 61, who has worked at the pub for 27 years, asked neighbours to check on Stan, when he failed to appear for his daily lunchtime visit three days in a row.
When the neighbours got no response, police were called and found him on death’s door.
An air ambulance flew Stan to hospital, but he was declared dead on October 31.
Ms Dwyer said: “We think he died of a heart attack.
“He’d been coming here for years and years. He was well loved and he liked to share his opinions.
“He was a funny man and always ready to have a friendly chat. He would chat to soldiers about his experiences in the war. He didn’t dwell on the past, but he was proud of what he had done.
“He was a well-loved character and we are all going to miss him.”
With no money for his funeral, the RAFA rallied round and has raised £1,500 to pay for a proper service at Pitsea crematorium, scheduled for 2.40pm on December 13.
RAFApresident Jim Gooding said: “Stan died in sad circumstances, but that sadness has been lifted by the generosity and kindness of so many people who will ensure Stan has the send-off he deserves.
“We are all overwhelmed by the community’s support, I would like to express thanks from friends of Stan and his colleagues.”
Residents are being asked to line the route to the crematorium when the cortege pulls away from the Five Bells, at 2.20pm, passing through Pitsea town centre.
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