Jimper Sutton in memoriam

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Jimper Sutton’s commemoration service took place at St Mary’s Church on Friday July 8. It was preceded by a procession of representatives of local bonfire societies, walking to a solemn drum beat, leading the  funeral cortege through the streets of Rye, from Hilders Cliff to the door of the church.

The service began with processional music – a recorded rendering of “I’m just a country boy” by Don Williams, followed by a welcome from Canon Robin Whitehead, Rector of Winchelsea. He read a moving tribute from members of Jimper’s family capturing the essence of their father’s character, resourceful, playful, a family man who loved Rye and its country side bounded by the sea.

His daughter, Claire, read that beautiful poem: “Do not stand at my grave and weep”  by American author Mary Elizabeth Frye. Jim Holland, a long-time friend, spoke of how Jimper had shared his experience of life through his many writings. His eulogy raised several chuckles of appreciation from the gathered assembly.

Then Tim Phillips, lead singer of the 1066 Rockitmen, sang to piano accompaniment “Rainbow’s End” a lyric made famous by Daniel O’Donnell, Irish and country folk singer. After the hymn “For those in peril on the sea”, the service concluded with the commendation and blessing. It was a solemn occasion for remembering a remarkable man, with respect, humour and a sadness that we have lost another irreplaceable Rye character.

photo: Kenneth Bird

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