Hundreds attend 'Facebook funeral' for a man they never met

More than 200 people braved freezing temperatures to attend the funeral of a man they didn't know in England today.

Former Royal Marine James McConnell did not have any close family when he died last month at the age of 70.

Fearing that he would be buried without mourners, Reverend Bob Mason contacted the Royal Marines Association and posted a message on Facebook, saying: “It is tragic enough that anyone has to leave this world with no-one to mourn their passing.

“I am sure you will agree he deserves a better send-off.”

A small procession through the Milton Cemetery in Portsmouth was led by Royal British Legion standard bearers followed by a group of flag-bearing motorcycles.

The service concluded with two buglers from the Royal Marines Band Service playing the Last Post.

Mr Mason said to the congregation: “The great majority of you who have come here today did not know James McConnell but wanted him to have a dignified farewell.

“I thank you for that kindness and generosity of spirit.”

Mr Mason said he received a “marvellous response from around the country” following the appeal.

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