The sun shone for ‘Popeye’ Ron on Saturday when his Memorial was unveiled in the Old Town.
Ron Everett, known to many as Popeye, due to his resemblance to the cartoon character, gurning and sailor hats, was a much loved local figure both in the Hastings and Rother area and further afield.
Sadly Ron died, aged 86, last summer, following a battle with cancer, shortly after delighting the crowds during Pirate Day.
Ron was involved in the famous Morgan’s Train carnival float, a big train with lights, which visited carnivals around the country, collecting money for good causes. He was also a member of Hastings Winkle Club.
Now he has a permanent memorial at Butlers Gap, in George Street. The memorial was created by local sculptor Lee Dyer, who designed and made the giant winkle sculpture on Winkle Island. It is in the form of a metal sailor’s hat on a bollard, with a memorial plaque beneath it.
The memorial was made possible by a local fund raising campaign led by Harris Woodcock, Kevin Burchett and former Mayor Bruce Dowling.
It was unveiled by current Hastings Mayor Cllr Judy Rogers and Ron’s daughter Lindy.
Taking part in the ceremony were Section Five drummers, local majorettes and the Carnival Queen and court.
Observer photographer Sid Saunders was there to capture, in pictures, the memorial to an old mate of his.
Sid said: “Ron was an asset to Hastings and always promoted the town. He is sorely missed.
“A big thank you must go to the three who got the wheels in motion last year to get this memorial to a sadly missed local celebrity and out and out nice guy.
Kevin Burchett said: “This all started because we were going to donate £500 of last year’s Scallywags Club revival money towards a mobility scooter for Ron, but he sadly passed away before we could do that, so rather than take the money back I enlisted the help of Sid Saunders. Harris Woodcock and Bruce Dowling to put it towards this memorial.
“Harris set up a gofundme site for donations and we also raised other money at an event celebrating Ron’s life. In total £2,250 was raised.”
Ron was remembered at last year’s Old Town Carnival when people wore sailor’s hats, while a Gurning Competition was held in his memory and is likely to become an annual event.
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