Sheffield's big turnout to farewell William Parkin

William Parkin's casket was draped in the Union Jack and St George's Cross.
William Parkin's casket was draped in the Union Jack and St George's Cross.
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Sheffield turned out in force yesterday to farewell William Parkin.

Sheffield turned out in force yesterday to farewell William Parkin.

The honour guard for William Parkin

The honour guard for William Parkin

About 200 people from varied walks of life paid their respects to the 86-year-old Royal Navy man at the City Road Crematorium in a farewell befitting a hero.

Three branches of Sea Cadets - Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley - turned out to form a honour guard for Mr Parkin, whose casket was draped in the Union Jack and St George's Cross.

There were uniforms and medals of many Marines, ex-servicemen and women in the crowd. Mr Parkin served for two years in the navy.

The hi-vis wear of an Amey crew was easy to spot in the grounds outside and in the church, while a contingent from Sheffield Boxing Centre also attended.

There was a great turnout for William Parkin's funeral yesterday

There was a great turnout for William Parkin's funeral yesterday

The crowd was given a brief insight into Mr Parkin's life. One of five boys, Mr Parkin was born in 1930.

He lived in the same house at Tinsley since 1966.

He had a love of horses, steam engines and football. Mr Parkin played the sport for the navy.

He was a staunch Labour and union man.

He never married, and earlier this week, there were fears that just a handful of people would be in attendance to farewell Mr Parkin.

The Star issued a plea to Sheffield residents, and Sea Cadets Sub Lieutenant Chris Knapton was only too happy his organisation answered the call.

The cadets took time out from their Christmas break to attend.

"I am really proud," Sub Lt Knapton, of Smithymoore Avenue, Stocksbridge, said.

"They have done a really good job at short notice."

The cadets are always willing to pay respects to departed ex-servicemen.

"It's not something you want to pass by without marking it," Sub Lt Knapton said, referring to Mr Parkin's funeral.

The ex-servicemen always look after each other, many years after their involvement in the armed forces has passed.

"Once you're in, you never leave," Sub Lt Knapton said.

Former Merchant Navy man Alan Walker, of Woodhouse, echoed the brothers in arms sentiment.

Mr Walker, 69, represented the British Legion at yesterday's service.

He heard about Mr Parkin's funeral, and regretted his organisation wasn't able to help.

"It's a great shame with these events, that we don't know about these people beforehand," he said.

The organisation estimates there to be "hundreds and hundreds" of people eligible for its help, and urges them to get in touch.

The Ode of Remembrance was recited at the end of the service, before two buglers played The Last Post. Mourners filed out to the Bee Gees' Sinking Ships.