MOURNERS signed farewell messages of love on the coffin of a talented young chef whose funeral was held yesterday.
Around 200 people gathered to say goodbye to Ben Hinks who died last month at Bedhampton Railway Station.
The 21-year-old worked and lived at The Compass Rose pub, in Anchorage Park, Hilsea, which is where dozens of balloons were released, pictured inset, following the funeral service at Portchester Crematorium.
Ben, who was single, was one of five siblings and went to City of Portsmouth Boys School before going on to study at South Downs College in Waterlooville.
He became an accomplished chef, working at the Horse & Jockey, in Hambledon, before moving to The Compass Rose in 2013.
The service was taken by Ben’s friend, Pastor Daniel Harman, from City Life Church.
Ben’s family were determined it would be a unique event to reflect Ben’s personality.
There was live music from Dave Barrett who performed Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations while friends and family were invited to write their farewells on Ben’s coffin.
The coffin itself was yellow with Made in England, and Handle with Care on it.
Mr Harman spoke about Ben’s passion for cookery – coupled with his habit of not doing the washing up afterwards.
He also spoke about Ben’s passion for riding BMXs, skateboarding, fishing at Hilsea Creek, and hanging out with his many friends.
Mr Harman also read out the words of the song Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum, which he said he hoped Ben’s family would find comfort from.
The song was then performed by musician Mr Barrett.
Mourners were asked to join Ben’s family in a toast at the fountain next to the crematorium where they raised a glass of Ben’s favourite tipple, Jack Daniels.
Ben died in a tragic accident in the early hours of February 22 after spending the evening at a party with his friends.