A horse-drawn hearse for Hemsby ‘Poppy’ man

HE dedicated his life to the memory of Britain’s fallen heroes and this week fellow old soldiers paid a final tribute to John Green.

The second world war veteran was laid to rest in a moving funeral ceremony at Winterton Parish Church on Wednesday, the village where he was born.

Chairman of the Ormesby Royal British Legion branch for more than 60 years, Mr Green passed away at Christmas aged 85.

A horse-drawn black hearse carried Mr Green on a final journey from his Hemsby home to his last resting place.

Draped in the Union flag, the coffin was adorned with the white gloves and bowler hat he proudly wore at the Remembrance Day services.

The hearse paused outside Mr Green’s former family home at the Coastguard Cottages in Winterton before making its way to the church.

Representatives from legion branches across the country attended the service and standards were held high outside the entrance to the church as Mr Green’s coffin was carried inside.

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Around 130 mourners attended the funeral service with Gerry Brown from the Norfolk RBL branch reading the elegy.

Hymns played were Oh God Our Help in Ages Past, All Things Bright and Beautiful and Eternal Father Strong to Save.

Mr Green was laid to rest wearing his favourite suit with some family photographs and a posy of roses, alongside his late wife Joan.

Inspired to help fellow ex-servicemen, he raised tens of thousands of pounds for the Poppy Appeal.

He was a familiar figure collecting in Ormesby, Winterton, Hemsby, Filby and Scratby only retiring from fundraising three years ago due to ill-health.

Honoured with medals for collecting for 50, 55 and 60 years, Mr Green received the Edwin Vincent Challenge Cup for his outstanding contribution to the legion.

Attached to the US military police during the war, he served for time as a guard outside General Dwight Eisenhower’s headquarters.

Mr Green met the general who went on to become President of the United States, and was stationed in both India and Japan. He served in the Royal Observer Corps after the war and soon started fundraising for the legion to help fellow ex-servicemen.

A farmworker for more than 40 years, Mr Green was a keen gardener who loved growing chrysanthemums on his allotment.

Born in Winterton, he was given the nickname Rinso as a boy after the brand of washing powder he was sent to buy for his mother. Married to Joan, who passed way in 1988, the couple had three daughters Margaret, Florence and Susan.

A dedicated family man Mr Green took great delight in his nine grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and six great great grandchildren.

Daughter Susan said: “It was a very moving service, they did Dad proud. He was a very patriotic man and would have been jumping through hoops to know what a fitting occasion it was.”