Twenty ex-servicemen paid tribute to a colleague and ‘truly colourful character’ at his funeral at Alford Crematorium.
Jim Edwards, who died aged 63, had lived in Skegness for over 20 years and was well-known in the area.
A keen photographer and musician, he had learned to fly as an Air Cadet at RAF Finningly in 1970. In the late 1960s he taught a friend to play guitar.
“He went on to do OK with his band Nazareth” Jim remarked in 2002 - the friend being Manny Charlton whose band sold more than two million records.
“I wonder if he remembers me?”
Jim spent nearly a decade “working his way up” from dead end jobs and playing for pints and managing the longest bar in England.
At sea, he was part of a team of five “who cooked 15,000 meals per shift” and became responsible for 800 passengers,
In 1977 he decided to “cut his hair, grow up and get a proper job”, which saw him serve in the Royal Navy, and later in the Merchant Navy.
He had a lucky escape in the South Atlantic, being “on one of the ships which was not hit” – The Galahad and Arctic Conveyor were on either side.
In 1987, he was rescued from the Herald of Free Enterprise when it capsized in Zeebrugge. He was also rescued from Radio Caroline, when it sank on the Goodwin Sands.
Jim had served with the Royal Observer Corps in Kent, and was a key figure in Skegness Film Makers Society.
The ex-forces community gave him the family he never had, and for five years he thoroughly enjoyed the companionship that membership brought.
Pink Floyd’s ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ was played at his funeral.
Tributes were paid by the staff of Seacroft Court, The Merchant Navy Association, The Royal Observer Corps Association and close friends and colleagues.
Funeral arrangements were made by R Arnold and Sons of Sutton on Sea.