College vows ‘disciplinary action’ after wreath trashed at funeral

This wreath for Gosport football coach Ronnie Williamson was destroyed - while his funeral was still taking place.
This wreath for Gosport football coach Ronnie Williamson was destroyed - while his funeral was still taking place.
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A COLLEGE will be ‘taking appropriate action’ after students trashed a wreath outside a church – while the funeral was going on inside.

During the funeral of Gosport football coach Ronnie Williamson, held at St John the Evangelist Church on Wednesday, a group of teenagers took one of the wreaths from inside the hearse.

It was then spotted being kicked along the street.

A News photographer spotted what was going on and sent snaps to St Vincent College.

In an email back to our photographer, deputy principal of St Vincent College Andrew Grant said: ‘We are treating this with the severity the act warrants.

‘Having liaised with colleagues I have identified the culprit and her peers.

‘We are taking appropriate action regarding this with the individuals in question.

‘This will include disciplinary action and engagement with parents and carers.’

Mr Williamson, who died earlier this year, had no immediate family, meaning that close friends have been covering the funeral costs.

Funeral director Julie Barber, who was at the funeral on Wednesday afternoon, says that she has never seen anything like this.

She said: ‘It was absolutely awful.

‘This isn’t something you would expect to have happen.

‘It is horrible to even think about it.

‘I have never heard of anything like this happening before.

‘Ronnie was a major part of the community around here – and after dying without any family, people had come together so he could have a decent funeral.

‘This really puts a dampener on what was otherwise a beautiful funeral.

‘If people get away with these things then they will continue to do it, so I am glad that the culprits have been caught and that something will be done about it.’

Aaron Haggard, who helped to organise the charity football match that raised money for the funeral, said: ‘I just don’t understand what they would gain from doing something like this.

‘It isn’t like you can give a wreath to a friend or anything like that – so I think it was probably a dare of some sort.

‘When they think back to what happened they will probably regret what they did.

‘I know there were people at the funeral who wanted something to be done about it.’