Watch Blackpool's final farewell to forgotten army veteran

John McPhillips, who died last year aged 82, was given a military guard of honour at his funeral after more than £4,000 was raised by ex-servicemen via an online appeal.

By Tony Durkin
Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 10:26 am
Updated Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 10:28 am

John, fondly known as ‘Paddy Mac’ because of his Irish roots, was found dead at his home in Blackpool last year after Tony Codling, community engagement officer for the armed forces at Blackpool Community Trust, did a welfare check on him after not hearing from him for some time.

Tony organised the appeal after it was not possible to locate any relative for 82-year-old John, who service in the Royal Pioneer Corps from 1969 to 1992.

“John was a great guy who made a point of coming along to the Remembrance ceremony every year as well as other events,” said Tony, who also served in the Pioneers.

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“He was also prominent on line so when we hadn’t heard from him for some time, I did a welfare check and found him at home.”“No next of kin could be found, so we launched the appeal and the response has been brilliant.

“As a military family, we raised £4,400 for his funeral and around 80 veterans will be attending that and the wake after the ceremony at Blackpool Cricket Club.”

In his time in the army, John served all over the world, including in the Falklands War, the 40th anniversary of which is this year.

“We are all one army family and it is only right that we give him a fitting send-off,” said Tony.

“The appeal brought responses from all over the country.”