Final respects paid to Littlehampton legend

Family and friends gather to pay their final respects to 'local legend' and former stuntman, Ian Lucas, on Sunday. PHOTO: Gary Turner
Family and friends gather to pay their final respects to 'local legend' and former stuntman, Ian Lucas, on Sunday. PHOTO: Gary Turner

THE ashes of a former Hollywood stuntman and ‘Littlehampton legend’ were finally returned to the town after being flown halfway across the globe.

Local man Ian Lucas, who appeared in a film with Errol Flynn and organised the Queen’s silver jubilee celebrations in East Preston, died in February, 2014, at his home in Australia.

A postcard with Ian Lucas holding pony rides on Littlehampton seafront. Ian died on Sunday, February 16.

A postcard with Ian Lucas holding pony rides on Littlehampton seafront. Ian died on Sunday, February 16.

Since his death, aged 81, Ian’s friends in Littlehampton have been working tirelessly over social media to unite with his chums in Australia in a bid to have his ashes brought back home.

It has taken more than a year for Ian’s remains to make their way back to the town he loved.

But on Sunday (April 12) they were finally spread at The Green – right next to where he ran his popular seaside pony rides, decades ago.

Gary Turner, 57, of Kilcoy in Australia, was Ian’s friend and transported his ashes on the 9,400-mile voyage.

Gary, a former journalist, said: “It was all a time coincidence. I was due to take long-service leave and I had had his ashes sitting on my shelf for nearly a year.

“We thought that spreading his ashes in Littlehampton would be quite a significant thing to do.”

About 20 people turned out for the service, held just east of Banjo Road, with many people reading anecdotes and tales of Ian’s past adventures.

His former business partner, Chris Adams, who remained friends with Ian after he emigrated 21 years ago, described him as an ‘oddball’ that was ‘admired by everyone that knew him’.

Chris, 64, of Fleet Close, Littlehampton, said: “Ian was an incredible guy that was admired by everyone who knew him.

“He was an oddball and a showman – a real-life Del Boy Trotter. He didn’t abide by any rules.

“But he would have absolutely loved this. He has probably got this in the paper in Heaven.”

Ian was one half of Lucas and Adams Removals, based in Sea Road, East Preston, with Chris through the 1970s and ’80s.

Before that, Ian had rubbed shoulders with Hollywood stars such as Paul Finch and Errol Flynn as a horseman in films during the 1950s.

In 1977 Ian, who lived in Woodlands Avenue, Rustington, at the time, organised the Queen’s silver jubilee celebrations in East Preston.

But to many, Ian was best known for running the Three Acre Nurseries, in Roundstone Lane, Angmering.

The shop sold a range of flowers and gardening equipment, but was also popular for its pony rides, held both on the beach and indoors at the centre.

In later life, Ian met the woman who would become his wife, Joy, and together they emigrated to Kilcoy in Australia.

After arriving at their new home, Ian and his wife started a tea shop called Dolly’s before Joy sadly died a few years ago.

Kimberley Rollason, 39, of White Acre, Wick, knew Ian when she was a child and rode horses with him.

She said Ian had an affinity with children and was seen as a brotherly figure to many.

“He helped me through some really tough times,” she said. “When I could have been getting in trouble, Ian helped me so much. I really respected him – a lot of us did. He was a great man.”

Ian, who had no children, leaves behind his half-brother, Howard Gerald-Lucas.