A SAD farewell has been paid to a former mayor who touched the hearts of the community he served.
Seaham council colleagues of Ronnie Ramshaw formed a guard of honour as dignitaries from across the region joined family and friends for his funeral.
The service, held at St Mary Magdalen’s RC Church, was also attended by Georg Brenner, burgermeister of Seaham’s German twin town Gerlingen.
In front of Mr Ramshaw’s widow, Barbara, Mr Brenner made an emotional speech which highlighted the part the couple played in forming the friendship between the two towns and the warmth and welcome they had shown during visits.
The town council’s deputy leader and deputy mayor, Charlie Walker, and clerk Mark Welsh led readings during the ceremony, which was packed with mourners.
Father Anthony Hastie spoke of Ronnie’s passions in life, which included travel, the Catholic Church and bowls.
Mr Ramshaw became Seaham’s Mayor in 2007, a post Barbara has now taken up for this year.
The 78-year-old was also a great Sunderland AFC fan, remaining a dedicated season ticket holder who went to every home match, even through ill health.
However, he would agree to watch cartoons in favour of sports channels when looking after his great-grandson, just one of his gestures as a loving family man.
Fr Hastie told mourners how Mr Ramshaw became involved in the bowls club, over 60s club and, with Barbara, Rock House, where they ran a popular luncheon club and Christmas grotto.
Mr Ramshaw’s grandchildren, Simon and Samantha, also read poems during the touching service.
The service was followed by a cremation in Sunderland and a gathering at Dawdon Miners’ Welfare.
Donations in lieu of flowers will go to the acute stroke ward at Sunderland Royal Hospital, which cared for Mr Ramshaw in his final days after he collapsed at his home in Henry Street, Seaham.
Mr Ramshaw was born and bred in Seaham and worked at Dawdon Colliery for 38 years.
His first wife Mavis died in 1980, and the couple had two daughters, Lesley, who died two years ago at the age of 52, and Lyndsey.
Barbara has three children, Christopher, 54, Julien, 50, and Sandra, 47, and between them they have 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.