Sidmouth campaigner’s ashes scattered in front of major project
PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:23 16 May 2019
Freddy Wedderburn died in February earlier this year at the age of 94.
A passionate fundraiser has received a poignant send off in front of the walkway he campaigned to be built.
The ashes of Freddy Wedderburn were scattered by Sidmouth Lifeboat's crew in front of the Millennium Walkway, which he secured local funding for.
Mr Wedderburn, who died in February at the age of 94, was also instrumental in helping the lifeboat raise £100,000 for its vessel Arctic, which has saved the lives of 226 people and numerous dogs.
Phil Sheppard, from Sidmouth Lifeboat, said: "This was a daunting sum to consider raising, but Freddy led the effort with his energy and enthusiasm, which we would come to realise was Freddy through and through.
"Having set himself a very ambitious target of raising the money in a year, he achieved that with a few weeks to spare, and the Pride of Sidmouth, the boat we use today, was ordered.
"The Pride of Sidmouth itself is about to be replaced here in Sidmouth, but will continue saving lives in the Solent. It is fitting that the last ceremonial duty of the boat which Freddy helped so much to make happen, was to scatter his ashes to the sea. A fitting end for Freddy."
Mr Wedderburn's daughters Ann Foster and Penny Reeve described their father as a fun, fearless, enthusiastic, determined and decisive man, unafraid to speak to people when he was looking to achieve something for the community.
Discussing the ash scattering, Mrs Foster said: "It was fantastic; it was just a fitting end to it all. There were lovely weather conditions, the sea was calm and the lifeboat crew were brilliant.
"The boat came right up to the point where the walkway started. It was poignant as his ashes were scattered at sea opposite the point. It couldn't have been more fitting that the two projects that he was passionate about played a part in his final resting place."
A former Citizen of the Year, Mr Wedderburn was born in Deptford and grew up in London and spent his working live between the capital and north Kent.
When he retired in 1987 he moved to Sidford and became involved with fundraising for McMillan.
His passion for campaigning and fundraising spurred him to set up the Sidmouth Millennium Walkway group to campaign for a pathway connecting the beach to Jacob's Ladder.
Mrs Reeve said: "He couldn't understand why that hadn't been connected. That grew into sharing these thoughts with people who felt the same and before he knew it, he had a pressure group organised.
"He went away and thought about fundraising projects and he achieved what they wanted to achieve.
"That was it for him, he wanted to do it for the benefit of the local community and to make them understand the benefit they would get from it.
"He was never frightened of approaching people. It did not matter to dad, it was what he was trying to achieve that was the most important thing."
"Nothing was ever a major problem, there was always a way, there was always a solution.
"We are proud to say he was our father."