Spectacular send-off as rockets scatter Ian’s ashes over Bognor

Ian Harding

Ian Harding

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The final wishes of a much-loved ‘local legend’ were fulfilled when Ian Harding’s ashes were propelled into the skies above his beloved Bognor Regis.

Just over 40 of Ian’s nearest and dearest friends gathered to witness a totally unique event on Saturday, October 29.

After lavish musical tributes were paid to the popular DJ, compere and impresario, a spectacular firework display took place.

Two large rockets were let off to propel Ian’s ashes into the heavens, accompanied by the sounds of Elton John’s famous Rocket Man, played by DJ cllr Martin Lury.

Organiser Nick Stuart-Nicolson, president of Bognor Regis Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Ian would have loved every minute of it.

“He was very specific in his wishes, for a long time he told me he wanted his ashes to be sent into space above Bognor.

“He died very suddenly after being diagnosed with cancer two years ago and he told the nurses the same.

“His funeral was quite a spectacle and then we held a ‘60s evening in his honour, so sending him up in a rocket was our final tribute to a truly great man.”

Ian served as both a town and district councillor and is fondly remembered for his work as a champion of Bognor Regis.

The unique send-off was staged in the town at one of the most favourite places visited by Ian, as well as his close friend, the late Cynthia Payne.

Among the crowd who assembled to pay their respects were three former mayors - councillors Francis Oppler, Jim Brooks and Paul Wells.

Lavish musical tributes came from Steve Gordon of The Diamonds and Lawrey Smith (former Diamonds member) and there was also a moving a personal tribute from singer/songwriter Jackie Lynton, who wrote a great deal of music for Status Quo.

Also in attendance were Peter Keen of Bullett and the much-celebrated Roy Haines of The Fenman and The Detours.

Ian, a former vice chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, died on October 1, 2014, the day before his 76th birthday.

“He was quite a character and very well loved,” Mr Stuart-Nicholson said.

“He’s still very much in people’s hearts and minds two years after his death.”

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