Former Corrie star Charlie Lawson has backed a social media campaign for mourners to attend the funeral of a 96-year-old war hero.
Harry Wheeler passed away at a care home in Macclesfield on Monday but does not have any known relatives.
He served in the Royal Marines during the Second World War and was based for some time in Italy.
Harry’s only family, his wife Enid and daughter Susan, died some years ago.
A Facebook campaign set up by a friend of the war veteran asked the community to help say farewell to Harry at his funeral next Thursday, May 18.
It reached tens of thousands of people including the former soap star Charlie Lawson, who was so moved by Harry’s story he promised to attend.
Charlie, 57, who lives in Prestbury, said: “As soon as I heard about Harry my reaction was instant. I can be there at a drop of a hat and will make that effort. There are precious few of Harry’s generation left and it is important we recognise the sacrifices him and so many others made. I would encourage others to spare part of their morning to support Harry in his final moments.”
Charlie’s family has a strong military connection. His father and three uncles served in the Second World War. His uncle Gordon was killed in the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy.
Harry’s friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the reaction to her appeal had been amazing.
She said: “My initial appeal was because I feared there would be no one to mourn him at his funeral.
“It’s looking more and more likely that Harry will get the fitting send off that he deserves.
“There are so many kind, caring, good people in our local community. It’s all very heartwarming.”
Harry, a master carpenter, lived and worked in and around Wilmslow all his life.
He was a keen gardener and loved crown green bowling.
Harry lived independently at his home in Lacey Green until two years ago before moving to Ashfields care home on Prestbury Road, Macclesfield.
A friend described Harry as ‘a real character’ who had ‘a sparkle in his eyes and a wicked sense of humour’.
His funeral is taking place at Macclesfield Crematorium on Thursday May 18 at 10.40am.