FORMER servicemen from across the area have rallied round to give a York Royal British Legion stalwart and Normandy veteran the send-off he deserved.

Scores of mourners attended the funeral yesterday of Reg Clemmitt after The Press reported last week how his family - who are few in number - feared only a handful would turn up to the service.

Legion members wearing medals and berets lined up outside St Oswald's Church in Fulford, and standards were lowered, as his coffin, draped in the Union Flag, was carried in.

Several members of the legion's 'Rider' branch even travelled to the church on their motorbikes from as far away as Leeds and Harrogate after hearing of the appeal to give Reg a proper farewell.

Ian Smith, press officer of the legion's Fulford branch, thanked the newspaper for publicising the appeal and ensuring a decent Reg got as suitable send-off. "There's been a fantastic turnout," he said.

The congregation heard how Reg, a radio mechanic with the RAF, had crossed the Channel on D-Day but had been unable to land immediately and remained offshore overnight, where his cheerfulness had undoubtedly helped others through such awful times.

After the war, he had devoted his time to the Legion's Fulford branch, becoming chairman, poppy appeal organiser and standard bearer before eventually going on to becoming president.

Derek Thornton, current branch president, said he had been an excellent chairman - 'a quiet, thoughtful and sincere' man whose biggest priority was always the 'welfare, welfare, welfare' of its members and who,with his late wife Doris had made the branch the success it was today.

Reg's son Peter said in a eulogy read out on his behalf that he had been first and foremost a family man, and he had been everything he could have wished for in a father.

The funeral collection raised money for the Fulford branch's Poppy Appeal.