THE people of Great Harwood turned out in force to say a fond farewell to campaigning pensioner Norman Hickey.
The 84-year-old war veteran, known affectionately as "Stormin' Norman", died last week following a stroke. Friends said that Mr Hickey, who had fought tirelessly to prevent Lancashire County Council from closing four Hyndburn care homes, had died of a broken heart.
He was devastated when Northlands Care Home - which was home to his wife Phoebe until her death in April - closed down. Mr Hickey, a member of the Hyndburn Action Committee campaign group, continued to visit Northlands after Phoebe's death and he died just days after the care home shut its doors.
Friends and family, including Norman's niece Susan, Hyndburn Action Committee members Kath Shackleton and Lynne Atkinson, and Hyndburn's Mayor, Councillor Win Frankland, attended the funeral service at St Bartholomew's Church.
Veterans from the East Lancashire Regiment, with which Mr Hickey served during World War Two, carried the regimental colours at the service.
Mr Hickey's coffin, which was draped with a Union Jack and two poppy wreaths, was carried in a carriage pulled by two black horses. The funeral cortege travelled from Birtwistles in Queen Street and up to Church Street before going onto the church in Park Lane.
The church service was led by assistant curate, the Rev Lynn McGregor, who paid tribute to the man who never stopped fighting for his cause. She spoke of a gentleman, a kind, caring and loving man, with a wonderful smile and great strength of character. The congregation sang the hymns Fight the Good Fight and Thine be the Glory, and Mr McGregor read a poem selected by Susan. The church service was followed by cremation at Accrington.
Donations can be sent to Birtwistle's Funeral Parlour. They will go towards a bench, which will probably be placed near the war memorial in his memory.