CROWDS gathered this morning to pay their respects to a shop owner who died after a short battle with cancer.

Alan Pockney was remembered by around 100 people who gathered outside the shop he owned in Longridge Avenue, Saltdean.

Mourners congregated outside The Gift Shop - which “the king of Saltdean” ran with wife Christine - as a funeral procession passed by.

Applause rang around as the hearse and the rest of the procession drove by shortly after 10am on its way to Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Steyning Road, Rottingdean.

Alan’s coffin was painted in claret and blue for his “beloved" West Ham United.

Bubbles also filled the air in reference to Alan’s football team, while people brought West Ham flags as part of the send off.

The 73-year-old was diagnosed with cancer in January and died three weeks later. The cancer had spread from his kidney to his liver.

The Argus: Alan's final journey past his shop this morningAlan's final journey past his shop this morning

On the shop, a sign read: “The family would like to thank all our customers, friends and the community for all of your wonderful messages of support at this very sad time.

“It warms our heart to know how loved and respected our husband, dad and grandad was.”

Jo Anne Pockney, his daughter, told The Argus last week: “He was the face of the gift shop day in day out, seven days a week for the last 20 years. My dad would talk to anybody. Everybody loved him. He was football mad, sport mad.”

The Argus: People lined Longridge Avenue to clap the procession on its way byPeople lined Longridge Avenue to clap the procession on its way by

Alan was cared for by Martlets Hospice at his home in Saltdean and told his family he wanted to give back to the charity for the care it gave him.

Jo Anne said: “What the Martlets do is second to none so my dad wanted to give something back and that is why we have started a fundraiser.

“My dad was all about charity and he would be so honoured and proud that he has done this.”

So far, the fundraiser has raised over £6,500 for the hospice, with almost 300 people donating to it. The original target was £500.

For more information on the fundraiser, visit the page here.

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