Fundraiser for the funeral of The Singing Gardener: Haywards Heath friends want to give Rick Soanes 'the send-off he deserves’

Friends and family of an 'irreplaceable' Mid Sussex resident who passed away suddenly are trying to raise funds to cover his funeral costs.

Andy Parker, 51, from Haywards Heath, has started a GoFundMe page to give The Singing Gardener Rick Soanes ‘the send-off he rightly deserves’.

So far it has raised more than £4,400 of its £8,500 goal.

“We – his niece, nephew and best friends – are overjoyed with the amount that we've raised so far,” said Andy.

Friends and family of Rick Soanes have described him as 'one of a kind'

Andy said that Rick, who passed away recently aged 59, was a self-employed gardener with a passion for classic rock, as well as a ‘fantastic singer’ himself who had performed in many different bands during his life.

He said Rick had made many friends in Haywards Heath and Lindfield through his profession and his involvement in the local music scene.

He added that Rick had also grown up in Lindfield.

“One of the last gigs he did was at The White Hart in Ardingly and people had to be turned away because so many people turned up,” said Andy.

Friends and family of Rick Soanes have described him as 'one of a kind'

He continued: “The funeral will be full of music, some of his favourite tracks, and then we're going to have a celebration of his life afterwards rather than the traditional wake.”

“For the funeral we've asked people to wear what they're comfortable in,” Andy said, adding that Rick would have wanted ‘more of a party atmosphere'’.

“Rick was always a little rock star so we've said the more rock star the better.”

Sadly, Andy said Rick had lost most of his immediate family over the past few years, including his father, his partner and his mother, which is why a fundraiser is needed.

He added that Rick’s friends and family had comforted him during those years, which made everyone’s relationship with him stronger.

“Rick was a larger-than-life character with a heart of gold,” said Andy, who works in the music industry helping independent artists.

“He could make you laugh like no other person you knew.”

Rick's funeral is set for Thursday, June 23.

People can donate to the GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/f/snkae-ricks-funeral.

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