Fleetwood man's poignant boat tribute to pal after Covid forced him to miss funeral
When Fleetwood man Alan Smith was asked to be a pallbearer at the funeral of a close pal, he couldn't have been prouder.
Tony Greenway, well known in Fleetwood for running the old Gas Workers Club for many years, had died on June 12 at the age of 56 after a brave battle with cancer.
Unluckily, with just days to go until the funeral at Carleton Crematorium, Alan was ‘pinged’ by the Covid app, meaning he had to quarantine and miss the funeral.
Alan, 56, of Manor Road, Fleetwood, was devastated that he couldn’t pay his respects – and even more so that he couldn’t fulfil the promise he had made to Tony’s widow Janet about carrying the coffin.
But, weeks later, Alan found a way in which he could pay his own tribute to Tony.
Entered into a national championship model yacht race at Fleetwood for the first time, Alan had to buy a new silver hull to be able to compete. And he named the vessel ‘Bullet’ which was the nickname of Tony for many years.
Alan won the Percy Trophy for perseverence in the championships for competing in every race, and phoned Janet and told her about the trophy and that the vessel was named after Tony.
He said: “I felt terrible about missing the funeral. It had meant a lot to me.
“Naming the boat after him was just a small tribute but I wanted Janet to know the yacht bore his name and won a trophy.
“His name will always be out there, sailing on the water.”
Mum-of two Janet, 42, of Addison Road, said: “When Alan phoned me up and said he named the model yacht after Tony, I burst into tears. It was such a lovely gesture and Tony always believed in persevering, whatever came his way.”
Tony, who was a popular face around Fleetwood, had been working as a pizza delivery driver when he became ill.
The couple's two sons are Shayne, 14, and Corey, 10.
Alan competed in around 30 races over three days as part of the National Championships staged by Fleetwood Model Yacht and Power Boat Club last month
Although it was a national event, Alan's races, in the DF95 class, included entrants from Sweden, Australia, USA and Spain in a highly competitive field.
He said: "Since I joined this year I've had a lot of help from the members, it's such a welcoming club."