Hundreds rally for funeral of war hero
HUNDREDS of mourners are expected to attend the funeral of a 96-yearold war hero after a social media campaign went viral.
An online campaign was launched asking the community to attend Harry Wheeler’s funeral after he died in a Macclesfield care home without any known relatives.
It has reached more than 10,000 people including former Corrie star Charlie Lawson and Macclesfield veteran Walter Freudenau, who are calling on the community to help give Harry the send-off he deserves.
Manny Botwe, headteacher at Tytherington School, has also organised for 15 of the school’s military cadets to attend with geography teacher Neil Cooke.
He said: “We heard about the funeral and thought it’s a shame that there was no-one to attend so we thought it would be nice to send some students.
“There’s a sense of passing on from the older generation to the next generation and we like to see the school as being at the heart of the community. We are researching more about Harry Wheeler for the students to learn more in school.”
Former soap star Charlie Lawson, 57, who lives in Prestbury, said he was moved to attend the funeral as soon as he heard Harry’s story.
He said: “As soon as I heard about Harry my reaction was instant. I can be there at a drop of a hat and will make that effort.
“There are precious few of Harry’s generation left and it is important we rec- ognise the sacrifices him and so many others made.
“I would encourage others to spare part of their morning to support Harry in his final moments.”
Charlie’s family has a strong military connection. His father and three uncles served in the Second World War. His uncle Gordon was killed in the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy.
Fellow army veteran Walter Freudenau, from Macclesfield, also shared the appeal.
He said: “There is a saying: ‘ We never leave a brother behind and honour those who have died’, so that’s what we will do.”
Walter also confirmed there will be the local Royal British Legion attending with banner bearers and buglers.
Harry served in the Royal Marines during the Second World War and was based for some time in Italy. His only family, his wife Enid and daughter Susan, died some years ago.
His funeral is taking place at Macclesfield Crematorium tomorrow (May 18) at 10.40am.
Harry’s friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the reaction to her appeal had been amazing.
She said: “My initial appeal was because I feared there would be no one to mourn him at his funeral. It’s looking more and more likely that Harry will get the fitting send-off he deserves. There are so many kind, caring, good people in our local community. It’s all very heartwarming.”
See letters page for more about Harry.
Harry Wheeler died aged 96, with no surviving relatives. Left: As a Royal Marine
Former Corrie actor Charlie Lawson has said he will attend – and is urging others to do the same