The death of a ‘larger-than-life’ character has sparked an outpouring of generosity from the community he lived in.
Arthur Stell lived alone but was a well-known face in the pubs and shops of Kirkham and Wesham.
When he died, aged 80, earlier this month, it emerged there was not enough money in his estate to pay for his funeral.
So the folk of both towns took it upon themselves to raise enough cash to ensure he gets the send-off he deserves.
Martin Molloy, licensee of the Stanley Arms in Wesham and chairman of Kirkham Pubwatch, said: “Arthur lived alone for a number of years, having been married three times and was a larger-than-life character who virtually everyone knew.
“He established the Kirkham Pool League in the early 1980s and was involved with it in various capacities right up until his death.
“He was famous for his large moustache, cowboy like appearance and was the man that knew everybody and everybody knew him.
“Regarded as ‘a true gentleman’, Arthur would enjoy a pint of mild in the Kirkham pubs during the day before returning to his local the Stanley Arms in Wesham at night before going home.”
Mr Stell died in Blackpool Victoria Hospital on January 5 after being found collapsed at his home at Derby House sheltered housing in Wesham.
Mr Molloy added: “Due to their own personal circumstances, neither his brother, or daughter who lives in the Midlands, are in a position to fund Arthur’s funeral and once word of this got out, a Facebook page was set up by the people of Kirkham and Wesham and the response was simply stunning.
“Without any real organisation, people took it upon themselves to start raising funds with collection boxes, raffles, concerts etc to make sure Arthur would get the funeral everyone thinks he deserved.
“The undoubted generosity and kindness of locals, and sheer community spirit in honour of Arthur, will provide him with a truly magnificent send off.”
Wesham councillor Linda Nulty praised the response of the community.
She said: “Arthur has been one of the great characters of Wesham for a long, long time, and sadly there wasn’t enough money in his estate to give him a proper send off.
“So particularly the pubs in the area have got together to raise some funds.
“It is very much a community effort.
“Arthur was just an ordinary person but a great character and it’s good to see people recognise characters and care about them like this.”
The funeral will be held at St Michael’s Church, Kirkham, on Monday February 2 at 1.15pm followed by a service a Lytham crematorium.