A son has paid tribute to his ‘hero’ father who was a pillar of Rustington’s community for decades.
Born and raised in the village, Richard Mann was chairman of Rustington Cricket Club for at least 30 years and was heavily involved in parish life, tirelessly campaigning for an extension to the number 12 bus route.
His wish was granted by the parish council – but sadly he did not live to see it, as he passed away on July 19 due to a brain aneurysm. He was 78.
His son Clive Mann said: “He had the village 100 per cent at heart all the time.
“He did help quite a lot of people. I used to say to him, if there is a big house in the sky, you will be in the penthouse.”
Over the years, Richard attended many Rustington Parish Council meetings, lobbying members to extend the number 12 bus route to include Worthing Road in Rustington. When the route was brought back last week, this stop was included. As a tribute, the parish council was going to ask Richard to be the first person to ride the bus, but sadly he died before it could happen.
Honestly, everyone’s proud of their dad but he was my heroClive Mann
However, before he passed away he was made joint parishioner of 2017 by the council, having been nominated by his son.
Clive, 52, said: “He was exeptionally proud of that; he was ringing me and I had to make out I didn’t know!
“For a Rustington man through and through that was good enough for him.”
He was also chairman of Rustington Football Club for a time, having played in goal for the club, and had been chairman of Rustington Sports and Social Club in Jubilee Avenue, Rustington.
More than 250 people came to his funeral at St Peter and St Paul Church in The Street, Rustington – the same place he was christened, confirmed and married to his wife Ann.
Clive said: “It was quite something. It is hard to put into words, but it made me very proud.”
Clive remembers his father’s dedication to his mother, who passed away aged 54 from cancer.
She suffered from kidney stones, and at one stage spent a whole year at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton – and Richard visited her every single day while raising Clive and his brother Brian, now 50.
Clive said: “Goodness knows how he did it. Honestly, everyone’s proud of their dad but he was my hero.”
Richard is survived by Clive and Brian, his four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.