Tuesday 23 January 2018

Retiree celebrates his own wake

Friends toasted a man who held his own wake and gave money raised from the party to charity
Friends toasted a man who held his own wake and gave money raised from the party to charity

A retired man has helped raise hundreds of pounds for charity - by turning up to his own wake.

Rex Curtis said he always wanted to know what it would be like at the service to celebrate his life, so called on friends and family to help him stage the "live and kicking" wake in Cornwall.

The 69-year-old former plant hire businessman said: "I have been one foot in the grave for years really, so I didn't want to wait until I'm gone to have the party. I wanted it while I was still alive.

"It was a beautiful do. Everyone had a great time and we raised lots of money."

Relative and local comedian Johnny Cowling was joined by musicians, singers and other entertainers at the event, held at Royal Cornwall Showground pavilion near Wadebridge on Sunday, where Mr Curtis' wife Marilyn sang a rendition of I Don't Know How To Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar. A brass instrumentalist also played The Last Post.

Around £1,500 was raised for Children's Hospice South West, with nearly 300 people attending.

Mr Curtis, a steam engine enthusiast who lives in Roche, said: "I spoke to Johnny Cowling several years ago and asked if he would do a little bit for me when my time comes.

"But then I thought what good is that if I'm already dead? I woke up in the night and decided to have a wake early. People kept telling me it was crazy but it turned out brilliantly and raised lots of money for children."

Mr Curtis, who has diabetes and underwent heart bypass surgery a few years ago, said he has already made plans for his ashes to be spread at a future Royal Cornwall Show, courtesy of a vintage Massey Ferguson tractor and Teagle fertiliser spreader.

Well-wishers can visit the hospice's website at www.chsw.org.uk to donate.

Press Association

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