‘It is truly amazing how many lives he touched’

Jon Hankey
Jon Hankey

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MOURNERS paid tribute to a former Royal Marine with a magnetic personality who lived life to its fullest.

The service hall at The Oaks Havant Crematorium overflowed with more than 150 family members, friends and fellow green berets whose lives Jon Hankey had touched.

Jon died aged 41 on St George’s Day last month from a heart attack while working in Africa.

Lee Kewell led the service for the Waterlooville man affectedly known as ‘Monkey Man’.

He said: ‘Jon was a Peter Pan. He lived fast and he truly lived for the moment.

‘Although we will never see Jon’s big, cheeky grin again, it is truly amazing how many lives he has touched.’

Mr Kewell described Jon as a larger-than-life figure who made friends wherever he went – a character who lived well and loved a drink and a joke.

He said: ‘He was someone who’s glass was not only half full but positively overbrimming.’

Jon, the youngest of four brothers, grew up in Clanfield and joined the Royal Marines in 1992. He played rugby, football and was a heavyweight boxing champion.

He left the service after nine years and became a regional manager in the maritime security industry.

Based in Benin, Jon split his time between ‘fighting pirates’ off the African coast and his home in the UK.

Jon’s nephew, Tom Hankey, said: ‘He had a massive smile that stretched from ear to ear after he’d earned that green beret.

‘Someone of his physique, stature, who had so much life, you could have been mistaken for thinking that he was invincible.

‘Our loss is without a shadow of a doubt heaven’s gain.’

Family friend Dee Farwell read a tribute from Jon’s wife, Claire, which said: ‘There are so many words I could use to describe how wonderful you were. You were my best friend, lover and soul mate.’

As reported, Jon and Claire met at a Pompey game in 2008 and he proposed to her on Christmas Day that year. They married in 2010.

After the ceremony Jon’s family and friends met at The White Heart in Denmead for ‘a proper Hankey send-off’.