Sculpture plans unveiled in memory of Littlehampton councillor

Plans have been unveiled for a sculpture to commemorate a prominent Littlehampton figure who died suddenly.

Chris Blanchard-Cooper passed away in his sleep from an underlying health condition on Thursday, April 30. Read the tribute to him here.

Tributes flooded in from across Littlehampton for the Arun District Councillor, who was well-known for being chairman and later president of the Littlehampton Musical and Comedy Society.

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As so many people had asked how they could show their condolences, Chris’ husband Billy decided to build a sculpture in Mewsbrook Park in his memory.

Chris and Billy on their wedding day in 2012

He set up an online memorial fund for the project, with more than £700 raised at the time of writing.

Billy said: “I don’t expect anything at all; I know times are very difficult, but it is there for those who want to be a part of that lasting memorial to him.”

Billy, who is himself a councillor and chairman of the Friends of Mewsbrook Park, wanted to keep the design a surprise but promised it would be a fitting tribute to his fun-loving husband that would appeal to ‘kids and bigger kids’.

He said: “It is something very different that everyone can enjoy rather than just something for me to remember him by, because he touched so many lives.”

Chris’ funeral will be held tomorrow morning (Thursday, May 21) at Littlehampton Cemetery, with a hearse procession down Maltravers Drive, Norfolk Road, South Terrace and Pier Road for people to say a final goodbye before the ceremony at 10.30am.

Due to the coronavirus restrictions, attendance numbers were capped – but Chris and Billy’s friend Dan fitted out sound systems and internet in the chapel so people could watch the ceremony online. “He has been an absolute star,” Billy said.

The service will be simultaneously live-streamed to both Zoom and the Chris Blanchard-Cooper memorial group on Facebook at 10.30am on May 21. To dial in for audio only, call 0203 481 5240. When prompted, enter the Meeting ID 846 0958 5209.

A recording will be posted to the memorial group as well as to YouTube for a limited period of time later in the day.

For those wishing to send flowers, these can be sent to Reynolds Funeral Services by no later than 8.30am the day of the funeral.

Billy also thanked those who had given cards, gifts and their support.

If you would like to donate, visit gofundme.com/f/chris-blanchardcooper-memorial-fund.