The funeral for late flight sergeant Peter Brown has been rescheduled due to an overwhelming response which significantly outnumbered the capacity of the original venue.
Mr Brown’s send off, due to take place in Mortlake on Wednesday, has been postponed while plans are being made to allow more to pay their respects, with a new date and venue to be announced ‘as soon as possible’, after an inundation of requests to attend the service.
Interest in honouring the former RAF veteran who died alone in Maida Vale well surpassed the crematorium’s 140 seat capacity.
Westminster City Council, which has legal responsibility for planning Mr Brown’s farewell, also confirmed that it was working with the RAF to plan a larger event, and was looking for a venue closer to Mr Brown’s home on Warrington Crescent.
It said: “Additional time will allow the council to work with well-wishers, community groups and the military to give Mr Brown the send-off he deserves.
“The priority remains providing Mr Brown a fitting, dignified funeral and allowing everyone who wishes to pay their respects the chance to do so.”
Peter Brown, one of the last West Indian pilots in the Royal Air Force, volunteered to come to Britain from Jamaica aged 17 in 1943, and also later served on the now defunct London County Council and the Ministry of Defence.
His passing attracted the attention of several high profile MPs who had also served in the military, including Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Security Minister Tom Tugendhat.
The council added that a new service and venue that would provide an opportunity to remember the ‘many different elements of Mr Brown’s life’, would be more ‘dignified and respectful’.
Westminster’s Lord Mayor, Hamza Taouzzale, indicated earlier this week that he would attend Mr Brown’s funeral.
Several considerations will have to be taken into consideration when planning the new event, the council has said, including the potential for disruption to other funeral services. Mr Brown’s send off was postponed when it became clear that the chapel originally chosen for the service would not cope with the large crowds expected to attend.
“This decision has not been taken lightly. We know that people are very passionate about this and we are truly sorry to those whose plans to attend have been scuppered.
“But it became clear that the chapel simply will not hold the large numbers of the public who are expected to turn up.”
Image: Westminster City Council.