Ashes of man who was 'life of the party' to be set off in fireworks

dave and becky arnold's wedding photo

Dave and Becky Arnold on their wedding day - Credit: Courtesy of Arnold family

A 49-year-old man who died four months after his cancer diagnosis has left his loved ones an unusual request - to send off his ashes in a huge firework display.

According to his long-time friend Stuart Mangili, Dave Arnold, who died on December 2 following a vicious sarcoma which spread to both lungs, is leaving Great Yarmouth as he entered it - "with a bang". 

Dave, who by the time of his death was living in Potter Heigham with his wife, Becky, and his 11-year-old son Kyle, came to Hemsby in 1991 from Widnes on a whim.

Boy holds firework with his father's ashes in

11-year-old Kyle holding one of the fireworks which contains Dave's ashes and will be set off in his memory - Credit: Becky Arnold

He has a daughter from a previous relationship, Charlotte, who is 19 and at university, and a 20-year-old step-son, Kurtis.

Mr Mangili said: "There was a group of us who met at Hemsby in 1991 and we thought of ourselves as a bit of a fraternity. 

"Dave was the life and soul of the party. We bought a caravan and found some seasonal work when he was 19 and I was 16, but we eventually had to buy another because so many people would come to the caravan to party we never got any shut-eye.

Dave and his friends together

Dave and friends at a festival - Credit: Stuart Mangili

"He adored Hemsby and wanted to be buried there. The council said no because he didn't live there, so the fireworks are his way of making his mark."

Mrs Arnold has been with Dave for 14 years, and could hardly describe the pain of her husband being taken from her so young.

Dave Arnold's daughter Charlotte with his wife Becky

Becky Arnold (left) and Charlotte Arnold - Credit: Courtesy of Arnold family

"We only found out in August", she said, "and initially thought it was just a trapped nerve."

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Dave worked all over the world as an offshore engineer - and though highly respected in his field, his family were never able to take out life insurance on the mortgage as a result.

family hugging

The Arnold family altogether - Credit: Courtesy of the Arnold family

To help cover the firework costs and keep the family going, his friends set up a GoFundMe which has already raised £4,241.

Mrs Arnold said: "It's surreal picking up 4ft rockets from a pyrotechnics firm with your husband's ashes in them. But that was Dave all over - full of surprises."

father and daughter

Dave and his daughter Charlotte - Credit: Becky Arnold

He left instructions about where each firework should be sent, with one going to his mum, dad and sister. The rest, Covid-permitting, will be set off on Hemsby beach by his friends, and the other half in his garden by Mrs Arnold and "all the wives".

Dave Arnold when he was younger

Dave back in 1994/1995 - Credit: Wayne Devlin


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