Funeral of former World War II airman

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THE funeral of a former businessman and children’s entertainer in Ryedale will take place tomorrow at St Leonard & St Mary’s RC Church, Malton.

Philip Irving, who was a rear gunner in Lancaster bombers during World War Two, died earlier this month at the Rivermead Nursing Home, in Norton, where he had lived for just over a year.

The 87-year-old, who had previously lived at Crambeck, near Malton, had earlier in his life run a cycle repair business in York, where he was also a councillor, before taking over Hills Boatyard in the city with his first wife, Jill, who died in 1990.

As a young schoolboy he taught himself to play the harmonica and later in life entertained many people at venues in York and Ryedale which raised funds for St Catherine’s Hospice.

In 1945 shortly before the war ended he was involved in Operation Manna to drop food into Holland for the people who were starving.

Later, he started the Operation Manna reunion group, which organised trips to Holland and meetings with fellow RAF crews, and where he was presented to Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.

Mr Irving married his second wife, Christine, in 1996 and she has been a volunteer at the St Catherine’s Hospice clothes shop in Malton.

His funeral will be at 12.30pm tomorrow followed by cremation at York Crematorium at 2.20pm.

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