Funeral is a fitting tribute to brave Bracknell mum
Published: 26 Jan 2014 17:300 comments
More than 100 people, including pop star Boy George, gathered at Easthampstead Park Crematorium, in South Road, Great Hollands, to pay their respects to the popular mum.
Debbie had been diagnosed with tongue cancer and died at her family home in Birch Hill on Boxing Day.
Her husband Lance said: “We were pleased with the turnout and it was good for so many people to be there. We were chuffed.
“It was lovely and we have had so many compliments saying how proud Debbie would have been.”
Sons Josh, 18, and Jamie, seven, were joined at the funeral by Debbie’s mum Jackie, her dogs Uno and Tia, as well as wellwishers who supported the family in raising £10,000 to arrange a final family holiday to Florida in November.
As well as raising money for the holiday, supporters also got in touch with Debbie’s childhood hero Boy George and the Culture Club singer subsequently met her in Bracknell in August last year.
Lance said: “I knew he was coming with Kevin [Boy George’s brother] but we didn’t want to say because we wanted people to come for Debbie rather than being starstruck.
“Debbie absolutely loved him and he was an absolute gentleman.
“He was so concerned, people paid respect to Debbie and he kept a low profile. He stayed for about 20 or 30 minutes afterwards talking to us and he said to keep in touch.”
Lance and Josh were among the coffin bearers and carried it into the service to Culture Club track The Dream.
A slideshow of 10 photos showing highlights of Debbie’s life was shown, while the Rev Graham Theobald also read out a poem Debbie had written in her final months.
Other songs played during the service included Debbie’s favourite hymn Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace, and one of Josh’s favourite songs, More Than Words, by Extreme.
The final song was another Culture Club track, Victims.
A wake was held at the Pinewood Cafe, Old Wokingham Road, Wokingham. Owners Pauline and Andy Jordan agreed to let the Johnson family use their villa in Florida after reading about Debbie’s dream of a final holiday in the News.
Mrs Jordan said: “It went as well as these things can and there was a wonderful turnout.
“She was a very brave woman.”
Donations by guests were made to The Royal Surrey County Hospital Stereotactic Radiotherapy Fund.