Funeral of Wrekin Rower Gary Richards taking place in Wellington today
The funeral was taking place on Friday of much loved Wrekin Rower Gary Richards.
Mr Richards was a member of the rowing team who crossed the Atlantic raising more than £122,000 for Severn Hospice and RNIB.
His family have invited friends and family to attend “any or all parts” of the funeral at All Saints Church, Wellington, from 1pm today.
A celebration of Mr Richards' life will take place at All Saints, followed by burial at the Wellington Ceremony. Afterwards, refreshments and drinks will be at the John Bailey Club in Wellington.
The family has asked that no flowers are sent but donations can be made to Severn Hospice.
In a cruel twist of fate Mr Richards was diagnosed with terminal duodenal cancer and spent his final weeks being cared for by the very same hospice.
Following his death on January 24 at the age of 57, barely a year after completing the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the news was greeted with an outpouring of love and sadness.
The rowing team was made up of brothers Gary and Stuart Richards, plus Stuart Shepherd and Martin Skehan,
A spokesman for the team said at the time: “Gary Richards was part of the Shropshire landscape and well known throughout the county. He was well respected, liked and dependable.
"A true friend to many people, a close brother to Stuart and Dave and a proud son of Mick and Edna. Whilst Gary can do no more, this one final gift he can give is to raise some money for Severn Hospice who looked after him in his final weeks.”
A family statement in January said Gary, “being the strong and determined man that he was, fought this dreadful disease much longer than expected, allowing him to see his younger brother Stuart get married, carry the Commonwealth Games baton, again with Stuart and to spend one final Christmas day with his family.”
“Gary was an extremely well known and liked personality in the Telford area where he lived. Whilst never afraid to stand up for himself and his family, what shone through to everyone who knew him well was his caring and kind personality. Combined with his determination to succeed in whatever he did, Gary was one of those rare people that just made things happen and helped other people along the way. He epitomised the phrase ‘if you can be one thing, be kind’.
“His passing also shows what Gary believed about life in that you should fulfil your dreams whenever you can and not keep putting them off until tomorrow as you never know what tomorrow brings.
“It is a small comfort that one of the final things Gary took part in was a wonderful adventure doing something crazy and supported by so many people when he was doing it.”
Gary leaves behind his partner Alyson, his brothers Dave and Stuart and his father Mick, as well as all of the other members of what is a very close and loving family.