STANDING room only ensured a memorable farewell for a former chairman of Pagham Parish Council.
The popularity of Ray Radmall was shown by the 150-plus size of the congregation which filled St Thomas a’Becket Church to overflowing for his funeral.
The service was a fitting tribute to Mr Radmall’s unstinting work for the area during several decades.
It was led by the Vicar of St Thomas a’Becket, the Rev Mark Eminson. The lessons were read by Bognor Regis and Littlehampton’s MP, Nick Gibb, Pagham Parish Council’s deputy chairman, David Huntley, and a friend of Mr Radmall, Val Tomlinson, who was also a former parish councillor.
Last Thursday’s service was followed by a cremation in Chichester and a celebration of Ray’s life in Pagham Village Hall, attended by scores of people.
Mr Gibb said: “What was moving about the service was that the church was packed. The fact it was standing room only is a real tribute to Ray.
“He was loved and respected throughout the village. We all owe him such a debt of gratitude for all his energy and work over many, many years.”
Parish council clerk Nicola Swann said: “I have had so many messages about Ray coming into the office. They all say he was a genuinely nice guy.
“People have spoken about him in really lovely terms about the huge contribution he made to the area and the large legacy that has created by all the thing he has done.”
Tim Holland, Pagham Pram Race committee’s vice-president, said: “Ray was deeply involved in this area.
“He always supported us and he was always there for us. One of the points he often said to us about the race is that it brought people together and he was all in favour of that.
“But he was very self-effacing and he would walk away from getting any credit and his enthusiasm was infectious.”
Mr Radmall passed away on February 16, aged 72, at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, from motor neurone disease.
He had lived on the Pagham Beach estate for decades and was a parish councillor for some 20 years. He had chaired the parish council for 13 years.
His dedication to village life saw him awarded the BEM in December, 2017. As well as the council, he was heavily involved with the creation and running of Pagham Village Hall, Pagham on Parade and campaigns to protect the beach and stop large-scale housing.
He also took an active approach to a mass of other activities in the area such as planting daffodils and installing benches.
Mr Eminson said: “It is hard to imagine Pagham without Ray. He poured his energy, his creative working hands, his life into serving our community over decades and we are poorer without him.
“He was a politician in the best sense of the word: a public servant for Pagham and all its people.”
Pagham Village Hall Trust’s chairman, Philip Coleman, said: “Ray’s passing has left a very big hole in community life in Pagham. “Absolutely everything you think of in Pagham, Ray had a hand in.
“You see things with his stamp on them everywhere you go. Not only did he have a strategic vision, he was very much a hands on man.”