A COURAGEOUS dad was granted his final wish as crowds turned out to bid farewell, all wearing bright cheerful clothes.

Jonathan Burgess, of Goostrey, had casually mentioned when his time came, his departure should be marked with a colourful farewell.

The dad-of-three hailed a ‘true character and one in a million’ had his wish honoured at his funeral last Thursday.

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A celebration of his life was not only colourful, but there was standing room only, as mourners spilled out into the grounds of Birches Crematorium in Lach Dennis.

Knutsford Guardian: Jonathan Burgess 'was an inspiration to us in every sense of the word'Jonathan Burgess 'was an inspiration to us in every sense of the word' (Image: Burgess family)

Family, relatives and scores of friends, whose lives he touched, wore bright dresses and colourful shirts in styles from country chequered to sunny Hawaiian.

Amid tears of sadness and laughter, the atmosphere was more of a party than a sombre affair, just as he would have wished.

Celebrant Alison Long was moved to say that none of the services she had previously conducted had been so well attended.

The sudden death of the 57-year-old from heart failure had left loved ones and villagers stunned.

A service of music and poems and a rolling montage of family photographs was a nostalgic tribute to some of Jonathan's varied musical interests, from Elvis Presley to tunes of the 80s and 90s.

A touching reminder of his happiest day was relived when everyone was invited to sing Morning Has Broken.

This hymn was played at his wedding to his wife, Jane, of 36 years.

Fond memories were rekindled of him arriving on their first date at a fancy dress party as a Christmas tree!

Jonathan was born in Macclesfield and lived briefly in Alderley Edge before his mum, Dorothy, and late dad, Alan, moved with the family to Goostrey when he was only two years old.

He attended Goostrey Community School and the former all-boys Box Lane secondary school in Congleton, before starting work.

This kind-hearted man made numerous friendships, always willing to offer a hand to anyone in need of help.

Outside a close-knit family life, Jonathan's passion was for high-powered motorbikes and cars.

A diabetic since he was seven, Jonathan never let his medical condition rule his life.

Despite two kidney and two pancreas transplants and countless hospital appointments, he always had a friendly, and often, mischievous smile and sunny greeting for everyone.

Reading a family tribute, brother-in-law Andrew Hewitt said: "He had his medical problems and despite having been dealt a pretty rubbish set of cards he certainly didn't let that stop him.

“Throughout his life, he fought to prove he wasn't different and was an inspiration to us in every sense of the word."