SCORES of family and friends paid their last respects at the funeral of well-loved Old Town resident Norman Race on Friday (April 19).
Around 150 people joined in a procession through George Street before the cortege and hearse went along the seafront to Hastings Crematorium on The Ridge.
Tributes by his friends were paid to him at the service with Mr Race’s sister Lilian giving an emotional speech.
A total of 21 flares were lit in his honour and members of groups Mr Race was involved in, such as Hastings Borough Bonfire Society, took part in the procession.
A wake was later held with shanty singers and friends relecting on memories of Mr Race.
The 62-year-old, who lived in George Street, vanished last summer. He was last spotted speaking to a friend on August 6 on Bexhill seafront, when he said he was camping up north’.
Mr Race was reported missing by his family on September 4. But his body was discovered in woods near Winchester in Hampshire four months later on January 17 this year.
Formal identification took several weeks before a DNA match was made late last month.
Mr Race was heavily involved in Old Town events such as the beach concert, pram race and Pirate Day.
Family friend Kaye French said: “I would to say a huge thank you to all the people that made Friday such a special day, to all the individuals, businesses and organisations who donated so generously to pay for the funeral, and to Norman’s family who have been incredibly strong and brave throughout this terrible time.
She added: “Most of all I would like to thank Norman’s sister Lilian for opening her heart with her incredibly emotional speech and giving Norman’s friends a greater insight into what made him the man he was.
“A friend like Norman will come along only once in a lifetime and we are all much the richer for having known and loved him.”