HUNDREDS of people gathered to pay their respects to former mayor and alderman Ernest Crouch.
His funeral was held at the Holy Trinity Church, in West Street, Fareham, yesterday.
The respected and well-known alderman had represented Portchester West as a ward councillor from 1979 until 1995 and 1996 until 2010, and had been mayor of Fareham in 1990/1991 and 2008/2009.
He was also council leader in 1994. He was admitted to the roll of Honorary Aldermen, the highest honour councillors can bestow on a former member, in July 2010.
He died on Wednesday, November 13, aged 86.
Touching tributes were read out in church from his son Martin Crouch and from current council leader Cllr Sean Woodward.
Martin said: ‘There only remains for me to say goodbye.’
Cllr Woodward said: ‘It will be many years before he will be forgotten.’
Born in 1927 in London, Alderman Crouch had a long career in the Royal Navy. He met his wife Enid in 1947 and they married in 1948.
On leaving the Royal Navy in 1967, he spent 24 years in industrial management at Drings in Portsmouth then Bowater Packaging. Then, for 18 years before retiring, he worked at Turnright Controls.
He had two children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Alderman Crouch was an active member of the Rotary Club of Fareham and donated many hours to raising funds for the NSPCC. He also made wooden toy trains to sell in aid of the charity.
Gemma Graves, fundraising manager for the NSPCC, said: ‘He did so much for the NSPCC and we wanted to come and say thank you and recognise all his hard work.’
Former Rotary president Duncan Colin-Jones said: ‘He was a special man who contributed so much to our club and to the community.’
Rotary Secretary George Cantrill said: ‘He was a very good man and it showed in everything he did.’