200 at Shrewsbury funeral of veteran who died with no family
About 200 people turned out in Shrewsbury for the funeral of a marines veteran who died without any surviving family.
There had been fears that the only people at the funeral of former marine David Kerr would be representatives from the care home where he had lived for the past two years.
But a plea from the funeral directors for people to pay their respects to the 90-year-old army veteran could not have had a better response.
More than 200 people - from military veterans and serving soldiers to Shrewsbury residents and teenagers from the nearby college - turned up at Shrewsbury Crematorium, with many having to stand outside the crematorium building.
Mr Kerr's coffin was driven along the drive to the service behind five standard bearers, including those from the Royal British Legion, the Royal Marines and even the Royal Naval Association.
Serving and former servicemen and women lined the entrance to the crematorium, giving him an emotionally charged guard of honour.
It was a sight that the the manager and staff from The Bupa Plas Cae Crwn care home in Newtown, where he lived, said they could not believe.
A true gentleman
Helen Griffith, the home's general manager, said: “Mr Kerr was a humble man and a true gentleman. He’d always open the door for you and offer you his seat – despite him being in his 90s.
"He didn’t speak too much about his time in the Royal Marines but it was clear how proud he was to have served his country. Mr Kerr will be greatly missed by all the team at the home.
"For those who can’t make the funeral today, we’re holding a memorial service in the coming weeks where we’ll be laying Mr Kerr’s ashes, and the ashes of his late wife, Nancy, to rest together as he had asked."
The couple had a daughter, the late Maryanne.
Band of brothers
Former Royal Marines at the service on London Road included Nick Redshaw and John Hirst from Telford.
"We saw this on social media and knew we had to come along. We are a band of brothers, if anyone is in trouble or needs help they just have to contact the association," Mr Hirst said.
Terry Western and Colin Hopinsson from the Royal Naval Association in Shrewsbury said they saw the appeal in the Shropshire Star and said it was the least they could do to take the standard along to the funeral.
Former Royal Welsh Fusiliers Jim Williams and Tom Martin had recently been to Anglesey to a veteran fusilier's funeral.
"It's what we do, we are a family," Mr Martin said.
Motorcyclist Glyn Griffiths, from Aberystwyth, rode to Shrewsbury to represent the Royal British Legion Riders branch.
"You shouldn't go from this world on your own," he said.
"It costs nothing to come along and pay respects."
There were three generations of the Rawlings family from Shrewsbury at the funeral: Doreen Rawlings, her daughter Andrea and 21-year-old grand-daughter Chelsea Horton.
Chelsea said: "I read about Mr Kerr on Facebook and told my nan that we should go to make sure someone was at the funeral.
"If it was my nan or grandad I would love to think people would do the same for them. I was awful to think no one would go along."