More than 50 people turn out for Stevenage funeral of World War Two veteran from Letchworth after Facebook appeal

The funeral of Navy Veteran William Ronald Bean

The funeral of Navy Veteran William Ronald Bean - Credit: Archant

A solemn tribute was paid to a Second World War veteran from Letchworth on Tuesday, after a Facebook appeal prompted members of the public and armed forces personnel to attend his funeral.

The funeral of Navy Veteran William Ronald Bean

The funeral of Navy Veteran William Ronald Bean - Credit: Archant

Kenneth Price from the Royal British Legion’s Letchworth branch posted on the social networking site after learning of the death of William Ronald Bean at the age of 86.

The Facebook post was shared through the Comet more than 500 times, with many members of the community vowing to attend after it was thought only two members of the Legion would be present for the service at Harwood Park Crematorium in Stevenage as Mr Bean’s family lives in Australia.

The Comet has since been informed that staff from the flexicare housing scheme in Tabor Court where the war veteran lived for 14 years were also attending, with the funeral arranged with the help of residents he knew well.

Mr Bean – who was known as Ron – served in the army before, it is believed, he was seconded to the navy – with many locals with connections to the forces turning out to pay their respects.

The funeral of Navy Veteran William Ronald Bean

The funeral of Navy Veteran William Ronald Bean - Credit: Archant


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Joan Ellis, chairman of the Legion’s Letchworth branch, has hailed the community’s response which saw more than 50 people attend – including four standard bearers and a representative of the Stevenage Sea Cadets who played The Last Post.

“It was a fantastic send off for what I’ve been told was a really nice gentleman,” said Joan.

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“It was really, really lovely – and what he deserved.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for coming, people came from all over Hertfordshire.

The funeral of Navy Veteran William Ronald Bean

The funeral of Navy Veteran William Ronald Bean - Credit: Archant

“They said they had heard of similar things before but not locally, so they had to come.”

Paula Jones, senior scheme manager at Tabor Court, said: “Ron was very happy here and enjoyed his independence, up until his recent illness he was still going out everyday in his car. He was a very private man and shared details about his life with very few people.

“He was involved in the social activities in the scheme and would check the bingo cards when house was called.

“He was well liked by his friends and staff, and some of his friends helped with putting together his funeral service.”

Stuart, who went with his friend Kevin George who served in the Royal Navy, said: “I think people are quick to put Stevenage down, but this shows that members of our community have their heart in the right place.

“It was a call to arms so it was great to see so many members of the community turn out. I think Ron would have been proud.”

Stuart Mendelson from Stevenage, who lost his eye while serving in Afghanistan with the Royal Engineers, was among those who saw the Facebook post and decided to attend alongside his friend Kevin George – who served in the Royal Navy.

He said: “I think people are quick to put Stevenage down, but this shows that members of our community have their heart in the right place.

“It was a call to arms so it was great to see so many members of the community turn out. I think Ron would have been proud.”

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