Train operator’s fitting tribute to railwayman

'Morgan's Orchard' - Stuart Coffee opn the far right SUS-141004-162816001
'Morgan's Orchard' - Stuart Coffee opn the far right SUS-141004-162816001

Bexhill resident, musician and railwayman Stuart Coffee was given a fitting and unique tribute by South Eastern trains at his funeral on April 4.

Stuart, who passed away on March 11 aged 62, was the brother of local transport campaigner Derrick Coffee. Derrick, a committed campaigner on road schemes in East Sussex since the mid 1990s and a devout supporter of the proposed train station at Glyne Gap, said to mark Stuart’s passing South Eastern gave special attention to the train carrying mourners from Etchingham to Robertsbridge.

“A reserved carriage was provided and as the train departed, the guard waved the green flag with accompanying whistle, the driver gave a blast of the horn which echoed round the churchyard and village, and the 30 passengers gave a spontaneous cheer and loud applause.”

The 60 mourners included many of Stuart’s musician friends who had shared gigs with him in venues in East Sussex. Stuart was an accomplished bass guitarist and played with ‘Morgan’s Orchard’. He performed at many local venues including the Bexhill RAFA club, the De La Warr Pavilion, Eastbourne Fishermens’ Club and village pubs in East Sussex and Kent.

Derrick added: “For the past 11 years, Stuart had lived in Lawn Court, Bexhill, part of the ‘Together’ organisation - providing a very caring and supportive environment.”

Derrick said South Eastern’s unique gesture at Stuart’s funeral was appreciated by friends and family. “South Eastern really came up trumps and the staff were respectful and attentive - they even included off duty staff.

“It was a fitting tribute to Stuart and a true celebration of his life.”