Roger's farewell featured an apt relaunch

FAREWELL:The coffin of Roger Shead which is a sailboat made for the occasion is carried out from his funeral at the Ashby Hall.
FAREWELL:The coffin of Roger Shead which is a sailboat made for the occasion is carried out from his funeral at the Ashby Hall. Adam Hourigan

IT WAS an unusual send off and one likely to be talked about for years to come.

Roger Shead's funeral casket was dubbed Shit Happens and painted with the words "See Ya Later".

And from all accounts that was the perfect expression of how he approached life.

Roger was farewelled aged 68 at a service in Ashby last week, resting peacefully in fully functional sailing boat hand-made by some of his closest friends from the Big River Sailing Club that he was a member of.

Complete with full rigging, a protest flag and painted with waves on the bow and three port-holes along each side, the casket was built to Roger's specifications.

"He spent a lot of his life on the water - sailing, paddling or kayaking," said wife of 45 years, Sue Shead.

She said after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February, Roger set about planning his funeral, including the details his casket. He approached a local boat builder, John Woods, to make it for him and artist Matthew Kelly to paint it.

It was completed a couple of weeks before he died.

"When he first came to me, Roger had some wild ideas which we had to tame down a little," said John.

"But I think in the end the process was therapeutic for a lot of people, especially Roger."

Sue said he had been "tickled pink" on seeing it, "he even tried it out".

"Roger was a very generous person but he never did anything within the box; the word normal was erased from the dictionary the day he was born," she said.

"He didn't live one life, he lived two of them. He was a challenge at times but life was never dull.

"It was a privilege to spend 45 years with Roger and our two sons have carried on his passion for living."

Topics:  ashby big river sailing club funeral

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