Goodbye to the ‘Great Escaper’ and his wife

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HE made headlines around the world when he left his care home to attend last year’s 70th anniversary D-Day events.

And today, around 150 mourners gathered to say goodbye to ‘Great Escaper’ 90-year-old veteran Bernard Jordan and his wife Irene, who died on Tuesday a week after her husband passed away.

Mourners at the Brighton service included fellow veterans and RNLI members - the charity the couple left their entire £600,000 estate to.

Mr Jordan’s coffin, draped in the Union flag and topped with his medals and a wreath of poppies, arrived at church in front of his wife’s. The couple, who did not have children, had been married for 59 years.

Assistant curate Father Mark Lyon, who led the service, said: “It’s a great privilege to give thanks for the lives of Bernie and Rene. Although Bernie made the headlines, it’s a testament to the depth of her that Rene would not allow him to make this final journey alone.

“In this we can take comfort, knowing that they make their journey into eternity together, hand in hand.”

Royal British Legion standard bearers lowered their flags after a sounding of Last Post.

Royal Navy veteran Mr Jordan’s disappearance to Normandy last June 5 sparked a police search that led to him being catapulted to international attention. On his return, Mr Jordan said that his aim was to remember his fallen “mates”.

On his 90th birthday, days after he returned, he was received more than 2,500 birthday cards from around the world.

Brighton and Hove mayor Brian Fitch said Mr Jordan’s exploits showed his “determination, focus, selflessness and commitment” to honour a cause he believed in.