A man who launched an internet campaign to pay for his own funeral has lost his fight for life.
Scores of tributes have been paid to music fan Wayne Leighton, who has died from cancer at the age of just 42.
Punk music lover Wayne appeared in the Mail in August when he was bravely raising money to pay for his own funeral after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer.
He passed away early on Monday morning at home in Hartlepool surrounded by his mam Joan Fletcher and sister Joanne Leighton.
Joan, 64, said: “Wayne was very well liked and will be missed by a lot of people. He was the most popular lad you can imagine and was so down to earth. He loved his music. We are expecting lots of people to come to the funeral.”
Dozens of friends locally and from all over the world have paid tribute to Wayne by leaving touching messages on his Facebook page.
He was the most popular lad you can imagine and was so down to earthMam Joan Fletcher
Wayne’s sister Joanne wrote: “I was glad to be with you till the end when you grew your angel wings.
“Like brother and sisters we would fight, argue and fall out but I still loved you and always will. Sleep tight little brother love you xxxx.”
Wayne’s other sister Wendy Ward, who lives in the Midlands, posted the loving message: “My heart is broken as my beloved brother Wayne Leighton passed away this morning. At least me and the kids got to spend last week with you.
“Free from pain and suffering fly free my beautiful Angel Lots of love your oldest sister Wendy.”
Wayne, who lived in the Murray Street area and used to organise music events around the town, was given the devastating news that he only had months to live in the summer.
To save his family from having to deal with high funeral costs after his death, he unselfishly set up a fundraising website and raised more than enough to pay for the service.
The final total stood at an amazing £4,370, smashing his £2,000 target.
He pledged to give the remainder to Hartlepool-based charity Music v Cancer.
Charity founder Tony Larkin said: “I didn’t know Wayne for long but what was apparent was even in his darkest of hours he was thinking of others.
“Music v Cancer’s intention is to use any funds raised for a Colon Cancer Awareness Campaign or detection equipment in memory of Wayne. Our thoughts go to Wayne’s family & Friends.”
Frank Turner, one of Wayne’s favourite musicians, who Wayne brought to play in Hartlepool’s Jax Bar in 2006 said on Facebook: “We all knew he’d been sick for a while, but the end came sooner than expected. He was a kind man and a loyal friend, and will be sorely missed.”
Another friend Laura Jamieson wrote: “A true legend gone too soon but will never be forgotten. Rest with the angels R.I.P Wayne Leighton xx”.
Wayne’s funeral takes place at Hartlepool Crematorium, in Stranton Cemetery, at 1.30pm on Tuesday. Everyone is welcome but people are asked to wear bright colours.
That will be followed by a wake at Wayne’s favourite pub, The Clarendon, in Tower Street.