Hundreds attend service to celebrate Ryan’s life
PUBLISHED: 16:30 04 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:37 04 March 2016
More than 200 people attended a celebration of life service of a former Gorleston footballer, and father-of-three, who died from motor neurone disease last month.
Ryan Harman, 35, died on February 13, after more than three years of fighting the debilitating disease.
On Wednesday, friends and family carried him into St Nicholas Minster, in Great Yarmouth, in a coffin designed around his favourite football team, Tottenham Hotspurs, to the song “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother”.
Following his death, more than £1,500 was raised to hand over to his family to ensure he was given a fitting send off.
Wayne Campbell, a friend of Ryan’s since the age of seven, put aside his dislike for Tottenham Hotspur - being a fan of their local rivals Arsenal - by putting on Ryan’s Tottenham shirt for the service, where he paid tribute to him.
“Even after he told me he was ill, he was always there still looking out for people which just goes to show what kind of person he was. I love you brother, and our friendship still lives on.”
During the service, Father Grant Bolton-Debbage read out a statement from his mother, Kim Ross, who said that Ryan had given her “so much happiness in his 35 years of life”.
Songs chosen by his mother and brothers were played, and the service concluded with his favourite karaoke song, “Million Love Songs”.
The celebration was followed by a private burial and a wake at merlins Sports Bar in Yarmouth.
Throughout his illness, Mr Harman received warm support from the community, who helped raised money to pay for him to have pioneering stem cell treatment in China.
Employees and members of Fitness 2000 gym in Yarmouth, where Mr Harman used to exercise, entered the Tough Mudder challenge to raise money for him in September.
And just before Christmas, staff from Outfit in Yarmouth wrote to Tottenham Hotspur, to ask if they would donate him a present - the club responding by sending tickets for him and four friends to watch Spurs play Sunderland in an executive box and receive the full VIP treatment.
On Friday, March 18, there will be a charity football game between Gorleston Football Club and “Ryan Harman Squad”.
The match will take place at Emerald Park with gates opening at 6.15pm and kickoff at 7.30pm.
Money raised through donations and a raffle will go towards Ryan’s charity and a motor neurone disease charity.
Ryan leaves behind two sons, Hugo and Todd and a daughter, Demi-leigh.