Christchurch bade an emotional farewell to one of its most popular and respected citizens yesterday as the funeral of Colin Bungey took place.

Scores of residents, friends and council colleagues gathered outside the old Town Hall in the High Street and at the former Christchurch Civic Offices in Bridge Street as the funeral car passed by en route to the private family funeral service.

Cllr Bungey passed away suddenly at the beginning of the month at the age of 79.

He had served as an independent borough councillor for Christchurch from 1983 until last year when the council merged with Bournemouth and Poole. He was then elected once more, to the new BCP Council, representing the people of Jumpers at St Catherine’s.

He was a former mayor of Christchurch and his distinguished and loyal service to the borough was later recognised when he was made an Honorary Freeman.

He had also been a member of the newly formed Christchurch Town Council.

Cllr Bungey and his wife Sue lived for nearly 40 years in Maundeville Crescent in Christchurch before moving a few months ago and there were tears from former neighbours as the cortege drove through the crescent on the way to the town centre.

At the Town Hall, the Mayor Cllr Lesley Dedman, handed over a wreath on behalf of the borough. Others in attendance included the Reverend Charles Stewart of the Priory, MP Sir Christopher Chope and the immediate past High Sheriff of Dorset, Philip Warr, who worked with Cllr Bungey in business for many years.

Outside the Civic Offices those paying their respects included BCP Council chairman, Cllr David Flagg, leader Cllr Vikki Slade and chief executive, Graham Farrant.

At the Christchurch Ceremony Hall in Barrack Road, the service was conducted by the Reverend John White, a family friend for many years.

He said: “Colin was a wonderful man who was characterised by his kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness and humour. There are many people to whom he will be a great loss.”

The service ended with the song ‘We’ll Meet Again’ by Vera Lynn.

Because of the current social distancing rules, only Mrs Bungey, their daughter Debbie and a handful of family friends could attend.

But a full memorial service will take place later in the year at the Priory.