THE funeral of one of Leicester City’s most memorable and dedicated fans took place earlier today, attracting dozens of well-wishers.
Bernie Henson’s funeral took place earlier at Loughborough Crematorium, with a celebration of his life taking place afterwards at the Ring of Bells Public House – one of his favourite ‘watering holes’.
The beloved Leicester City fan passed away last month at Loughborough’s Longcliffe Care Home, where he’s spent his last two years, following the death of his late wife Sylvia.
The eccentric 87-year-old was well known for attending matches with a painted face, and wearing a flamboyant blue and white jester’s hat.
He once hitch hiked to Edinburgh to see Leicester play a friendly against Hibernian, and in the early 50’s he is known to have cycled regularly to places like Hull, Grimsby and Sheffield to watch city in action, earning himself a reputation as one of the club’s most memorable and dedicated supporters.
At his funeral, around 60 Leicester fans turned out to pay their respects in city shirts and scarves. Bernie’s coffin was draped with a Leicester City flag and his trademark hat was sat upon it as a fitting tribute.
“Bernie did not have any living relatives, so it was up to us, the Blue Army lads and lasses to give him a good send off,” said Denise Midgley, a long-time friend and member of online group ‘The Bernie LCFC Support Group’.
He was a Leicester City through and through, and you’re not a fan yourself if you didn’t know him,” she added.
Speaking of Bernie’s funeral, she said that it would have definitely been something that he would approve.
“It was just a perfect send off,” she said.
“We all told stories of Bernie and laughed a lot – but there were also tears, especially when ‘Nessun Dorma’ was played,” she revealed.
“Of course Andrea Bocelli sang this on the pitch after Leicester won the league, so that was quite emotional. But more than anything they were happy tears,” she added.
“It was just a privilege to know such an amazing man. He was a one off, and to be involved in his funeral was such an honour.”
In her eulogy, Denise described Bernie as a “character” and a “very intelligent guy,” who fascinated her.
“Bernie was as deaf as a post, until you asked him if he wanted a pint!”she joked.
“I bought him a drink, and then every time I saw him, he would come and sit with me and have a pint and a chat.
“You could ask Bernie about any Leicester game. He would remember the score and the scorers. He was never negative about any game, even when we were hammered or played really poor,” she added.
“He loved the club through the good times and the bad, and always backed the lads.”
By Louise Steel