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Rocket man Bernie bids farewell after family honour final wish

Bilston | News | Published:

A charismatic and loving grandfather made his final farewell in the most spectacular way he could – by having his ashes fired into the night sky.

Left, Bernard Emery, who died from leukaemia last September, and right top, wife Anne Emery with daughters Michelle and Nicola along with other guests as they hold a white party in his memory, and right bottom, one of the rockets containing Bernard’s ashes lights the night sky

Bernard ‘Bernie’ Emery from Bradley, Bilston died on September 25 last year at New Cross Hospital after a seven-year battle with leukaemia.

He would have turned 66 on Tuesday this week.

On Saturday, friends and family gathered at his beloved Rocket Pool pub – where he was a keen regular – to throw a party in his memory and watch the rather special firework display.

His widow, Anne, 64, said it was an ‘absolutely fabulous’ occasion.

The display lasted 20 minutes and everyone at the party was given a sparkler.

She said: “What Bernard really wanted was to go in a rocket. He was a huge Star Trek fanatic.

“So he said ‘when I go, I want my ashes to get put in a rocket’. So I did phone America but they wanted to charge me tens of thousands of pounds.

“So I ordered some special fireworks and put a little bit of his ashes on each.”

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Father to Michelle and Nicola, and grandfather to Danny, Bailey, Bethany and Harley, Bernard was well-known for his catchphrase “peace and love”.

Since his death his family have raised hundreds of pounds for New Cross hospital, where he died.

Fundraisers have ranged from grandson Jake planning to dye his hair red, to daughter Nicola completing a marathon.

Mrs Emery added: “He was so humble and grateful for everything the doctors and nurses did for him.

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"He wanted to pay them back somehow, so I’m doing it on his behalf.

“We had a collection box at the party that I’m taking for them to open at New Cross.

“I have no idea how much is even in there.

“I just want to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff for their work – especially Dr Basu for his strength and support.”

A well-liked regular at Rocket Pool pub, where his party was held, manager Pat said Bernard would be sorely missed.

She said: “He was in every day, he always had a Mild. But if it was too cold for him, he’d ask to put it in the microwave for a few minutes to warm it up.

"He was very well-liked and loved. If there was something broken he’d always be your right hand man.

“Like if I said a door was banging, he’d bring in cushions to stop it. He’d always do these little odd jobs.

"There’s just an empty seat now. We still keep his seat though, and put a pint glass there too. He will be missed.”

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