THE Old Town community will be remembering one of its much-loved residents next Friday (April 19).
Family and friends of Norman Race are leading a procession through George Street to Hastings Crematorium on The Ridge from 2pm.
His funeral will then be held at the crematorium from 3pm.
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’s sister Lilian Gibbins said: “Norman loved being part of the community and worked so hard involving himself in all events in the Old Town, such as the beach concert, the pram race, and Pirate Day.
“Norman worked as a boatman for the fishermen for several years and everyone would ask him about sea conditions if they needed to know. He particularly loved the sea, involving himself with the RNLI.
“I have been told by his friends of the many little things he would do to go out of his way to help them with.
“When one friend’s dog died Norman spent hours scouring the beach for an appropriate special stone to use as a headstone.
“My brother was a very deep thinker, humble, private, sensitive and caring. He was also very knowledgeable and clever, hard-working and honest.”
She said her late brother ‘always had a love of the Old Town’.
Last June Mr Race took part in the Three Peaks Challenge over three days with his niece, Tina Gibbins, to help raise money for Charity for Kids, a group that collects funds to help sick children across 1066 Country.
Tina said: “I became very close to Norman after doing the Three Peaks Challenge. I admired his courage and strength.
“Norman made an impact on a lot of people and left a part of him in everyone he helped. He was really well-loved and appreciated.”