A PACKED church paid tribute to a man described by man as a ‘true Stroud legend’ on Wednesday as a town gathered to say a final goodbye to Jamie Andrew Paul Fletcher.
At the request of Jamie’s family the six hundred people who turned out to celebrate his life were dressed in colourful clothes, and most importantly, trainers – a nod to his love of daps. Once the church was filled with people who had travelled from all over the world to say their goodbyes – it was standing room only.
Jamie, who was born and bred in the Five Valleys, had passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family and friends on Thursday, February 21, at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital after suffering complications when he was taken to the hospital suffering with an asthma attack.
His unexpected death sent shockwaves through the community – and beyond – will friends rallying to help raise money to the cost of his celebration at St Laurence’s, and the cremation that followed. But the number of people, and the strength of feeling present in that building at the heart of the town could not have been predicted.
From the moment Jamie’s rainbow coloured coffin was carried into the building by some the many people that were so close to him, there was a sense that everyone present was experiencing a true special moment in Stroud history. The service, which was so beautifully held by the Reverened Simon Howell was a celebration, featuring colour, poetry, humour, tears, and of course music.
Opening the tributes to Jamie was his older brother Stephen Fletcher. Standing before the congregation through a voice clearly cracking through grief Stephen explained that “in 1972 the world became a better place when my brother was born.
“As a family, he taught us all to stay positive and always keep smiling, no matter what. If love could have saved him, Jamie would still be with us here today. His lifetime of making music and making people happy is how he will be remembered – A true legend.”
Over the next five minutes the congregation listened intently to his words, applauding and laughing at the personal stories he shared and finally giving a standing ovation when Stephen returned to his seat. Next Jamie’s daughter Avalon read a poem that she had written for the occasion, reducing many in the congregation to tears.
“We miss your face; you were taken too soon,
Your beaming smile that lit up the room.
You always had a twinkle in your eye,
And everyone knew you were such an amazing guy.
I’ll love you forever and always,
I’ll miss you everyday.
Until the day we meet again,
Warm in my heart is where you remain”
When his best friends Neil Baker and then Clive Moore each took their turns to share their love of Jamie, the scrapes he had got into, the hearts he had touched – the mood in the church soured once again – Stroud was celebrating one of their own. By the time Urban Myth by Flipside began to pulse through the speakers, over six hundred people were dancing, and as the woven coffin was carried out of the church to be taken to Gloucester Crematorium hands were raised in the air in time to the bass.
After the ceremony hundreds stayed back in the cemetery, hugging one another, wiping each other’s tears away – laughing at the rude word that had slipped out at the beginning of the Flipside track.
Before moving on to The Retreat, to share more stories, catch up with old friends and remember one man – who had brought so much joy, and brought so many people together.
his family wold like to thank everyone who supported them during this difficult time, from the ‘superb, caring and understanding’ staff at the Critical Care Unit at GRH, to the outstanding and professional way that Michael gamble handled the funeral arrangements.
The Reverend Simon Howell is credited by them for his exceptional, unforgettable ,remarkable service and Jackie Beezer Flowers who donated her own time and money to produce a spectacular arrangement.
Six of Jamie’s closest friends who carried him on his last journey Clive, Tabby, Rich, Daisy, Keith, and Mike – the list is endless.
- Join his friends and family at Be Humble – Jam for Jam at the Prince Albert, Rodborough, this Saturday March 23, from 8pm – as the celebrations in memory of Jamie, and the impact he had on Stroud, continue.