Teesside veteran gets true hero's send-off after appeal for community to attend
Report by Jennie Henry
Hundreds of people turned out to say goodbye to a Teesside war veteran who left behind no known friends or family.
Maurice Winspear served on the front line in Italy during World War Two, and then on tours of Syria, Palestine and Egypt.
He died aged 98 in a care home in Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough, and there were worries he would make his final journey alone.
East Cleveland-based celebrant Sue Dicken reached out to the Teesside community to help give Maurice the send-off she felt he deserved.
Sue said: "[The] service was just absolutely incredible. It was a real tribute to Maurice and for that I'm eternally grateful to everyone who made the effort today.
"The amount of people that took the time to come and attend the service who probably have never met Maurice, yeah it's amazing. I feel really quite humble."
The British Legion supported Sue's campaign and invited military families to attend the service at Kirkleatham Crematorium on Tuesday 31 May.
Major Pat Ralph, of the Yorkshire Regiment, said: "It's brilliant to see the hundreds of people who have come to say farewell.
"And the pomp and ceremony, the bagpipes, the bugle, the Last Post, the Reveille, absolutely excellent and the right thing that Maurice should be send off in this way.
"It's typical of the North of England to do this kind of service, to turn out in the numbers that they have done today."
The cortege was followed by North East bikers and forces supporters, Eights & Aces.
Mourners filled the room to pay their respects to Maurice who was born in Whitby in 1923.
After his time with the Royal Scots Fusiliers, he worked for the United bus company on Teesside and then at British Steel.
Maurice was described as a quiet and humble man and his campaign medals were his pride and joy.
He also loved to listen to Middlesbrough FC games on the radio after losing his sight in recent years.