Hundreds of people paid their respects to one of Littlehampton’s most beloved teachers at his funeral.
On Wednesday, November 22, Worthing Crematorium was filled with friends, family and former students and colleagues of Roger Butterworth, who taught history at Littlehampton Community School for more than 30 years.
Amateur dramatics, helping children to read and hosting tours of Arundel Castle were just a few of the other strings to his bow. He passed away aged 69. Read more about his life here.
With his signature red hat on top of his coffin, he was carried into the chapel for the service, which was led by Father John H. McCormack.
Roger’s friend Daniel Paine performed a piece of music he wrote called ‘Until We Meet Again’, and Billy Blanchard-Cooper, one of his ex-students and Littlehampton mayor, delivered a heartfelt speech in which he said: “No one will ever be able to replace Roger in our hearts but his legacy to us all is the memories he has left us with and it is through these that he and his role in our history will live on.”
He said the funeral went ‘incredibly well’: “I just about kept it together; it wasn’t until I saw the coffin with his hat on that it really hit home.”
At the funeral, his nephew Russ, 44, from Bristol, decided to leave out his huge bow-tie collection so wellwishers could take one in return for a charity donation to the Samaritans or St Barnabus House charities which Roger volunteered for.
He said the donation plate was ‘overflowing’ with notes, and the rest of Roger’s collection has been given to the St Barnabus House shop in Wick Street, Wick, where Roger used to work.
One person who bought one was his ex-history pupil Julie Walker, who is now a florist based in East Preston.
She said: “It was such a lovely idea so they didn’t go to waste. Everyone has a piece of Mr B now and the money is going to a good place.”
She said: “It was so busy, but then he was such a well-loved man. He was a different kind of teacher, he made everything fun – it wasn’t like you were at school.”
Jan Bryant, from Glenville Road, Rustington, met Roger when they both acted in the Rustington Players.
She said he would be remembered for his ‘unforgettable’ performance as Teddy Brewster in the dark comedy Arsenic and Old Lace. “He was truly one of a kind, a lovely man,” she added.