Cannon fire is a fitting send off for rifle club stalwart
A WELL-LOVED man from Sunbury was given a rather unusual send off when his ashes were fired out of a cannon.
John Withecombe, 71, died on Saturday May 6 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008.
He told his loved ones that he wanted his ashes to be scattered at the Weybridge Rifle and Pistol Club, of which he was a member.
After his death, president of the club, Keith Watson, suggested to John’s widow Carol that the club could go one step further and fire his ashes out of a cannon.
He spoke to the Surrey Advertiser about his friend and the celebration of his life held on Sunday (September 10). He said: “I have known John for seven or eight years, we were very close friends.
“He was a very interesting man and was well-loved – he had lots of friends.
“He loved his life and he loved the club so everyone was really happy with how the day went.
“Eleven shots were fired and we saw that people in the area were a little worried on social media.
“We decided to share what we had done for John online and everyone has been very supportive saying what a nice idea it was.”
John moved to Sunbury from the Dorking area and worked as a radiator engineer in Twickenham.
Carol was the last person to fire the cannon during Sunday’s send off.
She said: “It was such a fitting end to John’s life.
“The club was his absolutely favourite place to be, he had to give up his other hobbies as he got weaker but he could still drive and said he would be happy if he could still go to the club.
“It was the camaraderie that he found there that made the difference. John would have been absolutely amazed with what we did for him - I just wish he could have been there to see it!”
John Withecombe’s widow Carol fires the cannon to scatters his ashes at Weybridge Rifle and Pistol Club