Raising a glass to war hero Harold
A Fylde publican has paid his own special tribute to an heroic war veteran – just days after hundreds of people went to his funeral, despite never knowing him.
The story of Harold Jellicoe ‘Coe’ Percival captured the hearts of people across the UK on Remembrance weekend after it was revealed just a handful of family members would attend the RAF veteran’s funeral.
But after a death notice was placed in the Gazette’s sister paper, the Lytham St Annes Express, more than 500 people turned out to honour Mr Percival on Monday – Armistice Day – at Lytham Park Crematorium.
The story inspired Craig Daniels, landlord at The County Pub in Lytham, who, alongside the Lytham Brewery, produced a ‘Jar of Jellicoe’.
Mr Daniels said: “I was first told about Harold’s story by my wife Leighanne, who saw the death notice through Twitter when the comedian Jason Manford Tweeted the story.
“I decided I had to do something to honour him. For a man like that to serve the country so well, he deserves every honour going.”
Leighanne added: “I spotted it online and told Craig. He got in touch with James Booker, the managing director at Lytham Brewery and they got together to produce the Jar of Jellicoe.”
Mr Percival, who served in the RAF and helped prepare Lancaster Bombers before the Dambusters raids, never married and had no children.
He left the RAF at the end of the war and moved to Australia before returning to the UK in the late 1980s.
The newspaper notice of his death read: “A single man, Harold has no close family who can attend his funeral.
“He served in RAF Bomber Command as ground crew during the Second World War.
“Any service personnel who can attend his funeral service would be appreciated.”
His story soon spread by coverage in The Gazette, Twitter and Facebook and attracted national media attention, resulting in hundreds of mourners attending his funeral.
He added: “I felt I had to go. The story really moved me.
“On the day of the funeral we sold each Jar of Jellicoe pint for £2, with all money raised going towards the Royal British Legion.
“We raised £170, the equivlant of 85 pints. For the rest of November, for every pint sold, we will donate 10p to the Legion.
“Our intention is to bring the beer back every November as a way of remembering Harold.”
A spokesman for the Lytham Brewery said: “The brewery is pleased to support the County Hotel in Lytham in recognition of Harold Jellicoe Percival.
“Let’s hope it raises lots of money for the British Legion.”
Jar of Jellicoe is on sale at the Church Road-based pub until the end of the month.