Cancer battler Tommy Fletcher remembered as a ‘gentle giant with a heart of gold’

Jackie Fletcher blows a kiss as her husband Tommy Fletcher's coffin is carried out of the Chapel at Stranton Crematorium. Picture by FRANK REID
Jackie Fletcher blows a kiss as her husband Tommy Fletcher's coffin is carried out of the Chapel at Stranton Crematorium. Picture by FRANK REID

Tommy Fletcher, who died after a brave battle against cancer, was remembered as a gentle giant with a heart of gold as he was laid to rest.

There were tears and laughter during the 49-year-old dad of two’s funeral as scores of friends and family turned out to pay their respects and also to celebrate his life.

Jacky Wilkinson and Thomas Fletcher on their wedding day

Jacky Wilkinson and Thomas Fletcher on their wedding day

Tommy, also a proud grandad, died at the beginning of this month after the cancer he beat in 2015 sadly returned.

Funeral celebrant Helen Greenwell said during the service: “Tommy has left a wealth of wonderful memories to cherish.”

Speaking about Tommy’s childhood Helen told how he would try to leave the house to go to school before he was old enough prompting his mum Margaret to tie him to the washing line.

He went to Ward Jackson primary and Brierton secondary schools.

Tommy Fletcher's cortege arrives at Stranton Crematorium for his funeral service Stranton Crematorium. Picture by FRANK REID

Tommy Fletcher's cortege arrives at Stranton Crematorium for his funeral service Stranton Crematorium. Picture by FRANK REID

Moving forward in time Helen said: “It was in 1992 that Tommy met the girl who was to be the love of his life, Jacky.

“When Tommy called at her house for the first time her grandad answered the door and said ‘Jacky, it’s the Jolly Green Giant’.”

The couple fulfilled their wish to marry last year thanks to the help of town charity Miles for Men.

Stephen Picton of the charity became close friends with Tommy.

Tommy Fletcher's cortege arrives at Stranton Crematorium for his funeral service Stranton Crematorium. Picture by FRANK REID

Tommy Fletcher's cortege arrives at Stranton Crematorium for his funeral service Stranton Crematorium. Picture by FRANK REID

Helen said: “Tommy and Jacky were married on the 21st of December and it was the most gorgeous wedding complete with horse and carriage, fireworks and everything to make their day special.”

Miles for Men continued to support Tommy and his family including, along with the Mail, arranging to meet his wrestling idol WWE star Daniel Brian when he was on tour in Newcastle in May.

The support of the charity and others prompted Tommy to comment: “There’s no angels in heaven, because they are all down here with me.”

He was determined to give something back and despite being very ill Tommy walked across the finishing line at this year’s Miles for Men race.

Jackie Fletcher stands with family members after the funeral service for her husband Tommy Fletcher held at Stranton Crematorium. Picture by FRANK REID

Jackie Fletcher stands with family members after the funeral service for her husband Tommy Fletcher held at Stranton Crematorium. Picture by FRANK REID

Helen added: “Tommy was a kind-hearted gentle giant with a heart of gold.

“Jacky said he was her hero.”

Tommy wanted a short service with no fuss and instead of flowers asked for donations to Miles for Men and Walk for Women.

Miles for Men members carry Tommy Fletchers coffin out of the Chapel  at Stranton Crematorium. Picture by FRANK REID

Miles for Men members carry Tommy Fletchers coffin out of the Chapel at Stranton Crematorium. Picture by FRANK REID

Mourners make their way into the Chapel at Stranton Crematorium for the funeral service of Tommy Fletcher. Picture by FRANK REID

Mourners make their way into the Chapel at Stranton Crematorium for the funeral service of Tommy Fletcher. Picture by FRANK REID

amily members before the start of the funeral service for her husband Tommy Fletcher held at Stranton Crematorium. Picture by FRANK REID

amily members before the start of the funeral service for her husband Tommy Fletcher held at Stranton Crematorium. Picture by FRANK REID