Incredible community effort raises funds for much-loved Fleetwood man's funeral

The unexpected death of a popular Fleetwood man has led to a remarkable community effort to make sure he has a decent burial.

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 6:26 am

Allan Macfarlane, a talented photographer, was well known in the town as a volunteer for a hot meals service for homeless and lonely people and a keen fundraiser for the RNLI.

But what seemed to be a normal cold suddenly developed into bronchial pneumonia and Allan, of Bold Street, died aged just 59, leaving friends shocked and devastated.

He is believed to have died on Sunday December 11, at his home.

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Allan Macfarlane was a much-loved character in Fleetwood

It then came to light that Allan, a film degree student at Palatine College in Blackpool, had not set aside funds or arrangements for his funeral.

So friends set about trying to help - and in just three days they raised £1,600 , smashing the £1,495 target set for his funeral arrangements via a GoFundMe page.

The figure had risen to £1,725 by Tuesday night (December 21).

Donna Buston, 36, of Southfleet Avenue, Fleetwood, was a close friend of Allan and started the crowdfunding campaign.

Allan Macfarlane (crouching) was also a volunteer at The Pantry in Fleetwood

She said: "I have lived in Fleetwood for 12 years, I'm originally from Rossendale, and I have never known a place like it for people rallying round when they know someone needs help.

"It's also a measure of how popular Allan was, this shows the sort of person he was.

"He wanted to help people who were less well off than he was, but he didn't have anything himself. He was a volunteer at the Mustard Seed group, helping with hot meals, and with the food bank at The Pantry.

"I'd known him since I came to Fleetwood and we were photography students together.

"His death has caused such a shock, it was totally unexpected, he only had a cold. But it turned into bronchial pneumonia."

She added that fears he had caught Covid appeared to be dispelled when he tested negative for the virus after falling ill.

Friends became concerned when Allan, who was single and lived alone, suddenly stopped posting on social media, which was out of character.

Donna went round to his flat, contacted the landlord when she could get no answer, and found Allan in his flat.

She said: "I'm so glad we are able to do this for Allan - her would have done the same for someone else."

If the funds had not been raised, Allan would have had a state-funded funeral but Donna was concerned that it would not allow Allan to get the send-off he deserved.

Fleetwood RNLI, where Allan worked as a volunteer posted a message on their Facebook page after hearing of Allan's passing.

They said: "We are sad to report the passing of great supporter to our lifeboat station, Allan Macfarlane.

"We send our thoughts and prayers to friends and family at this very difficult time."

Leading Mustard Seed member Hilary Craig said: "Allan was a lovely man who helped out with our group and was also a volunteer with the Fleetwood food bank.

"We were devastated to hear of his death."

Donna said arrangements for Allan's funeral were now starting to be made.

Once a venue and date have been finalised, there will be a ceremony for people to pay their respects followed by cremation and his ashes will then scattered at sea by the Fleetwood Lifeboat, with which he worked so closely as a fundraiser and volunteer.

Any money raised surplus to the amount required to cover the funeral costs will be donated in Allan's memory to the Fleetwood RNLI