A PERMANENT public memorial to west Cumbria’s own “funfair king” has been placed in the town where he grew up.

A tree has been planted in Maryport ‘s Memorial Gardens in honour of the late funfair boss Rayner Fletcher.

Mr Fletcher’s family including daughters Cherie, Courtney and Dominique; his wife Joyce and son Rayner were all present at the planting event on Friday.

Mr Fletcher’s auntie Shirley, “one of the original Fletchers”, joined the ceremony as did members of the extended family.

Councillor Carni McCarron-Holmes was in attendance to see her idea become a reality.

The memorial tree takes pride of place in the gardens of St Mary’s Church.

One year previously, that same church was packed out with people paying their respects to Mr Fletcher, well known for running Silloth fair, at his funeral.

“One year gone in July, it just flies by” said Mrs Fletcher.

The plaque, which stands next to the memorial tree, reads: “Maryport’s own funfair king, a true family man and friend to all.”

Mrs Fletcher reminisced about her late husband’s popularity: “Up and down the country, we always ran into someone who knew him,” she said.

The position of the tree has an even deeper significance as funfair men can see it from the road on their travels. Cherie, who now drives the lorries for the funfair operation, can also see the tree when the Fletchers take the family business on the road.

“We’re still keeping the fair going for him” said Cherie.

Dominique has become Fletchers Funfair’s company accountant, balancing the books and Courtney and Rayner help out with running the fair on weekends.

Mr Fletcher’s legacy appears to be in the safest of hands. Cherie said the tree is “something that will be here forever.”