Greatest Showman style funeral held for extraordinary man in Milton Keynes
The funeral director did a little dance and threw a juggling ball
A town's much loved and colourful character has been given the Greatest Showman-style funeral that he deserved.
Wolverton man Les Jeffrey was the mainstay of the town's former MADCAP Circus and taught circus and performing skills to any young person who wanted to join in.
He also performed and ran circus skills workshops all over Milton Keynes
Les died in the comfort of his own home, at the age of 71, following a short illness. Though his funeral had to be subject to Covid restrictions, his friends and family were determined to make it a day to remember.
It started by with the guests chalking 'RIP Les the Legend in huge letters in the town's Square.
"It wasn’t quite your usual funeral!", said James Easton, the Celebrant who conducted the service.
"The whole event was treated as Les’ last show and there were many smiles and laughs as well as poignant moments along with poetry, the playing of a kazoo and also some juggling included.
"The attendees dressed extremely colourfully as Les always did, and the funeral director from the Coop even did a little bit of a dance and threw the jugging ball back to me as she walked down the aisle at the end," added James, who had been a friend and colleague of Les.
He said: "Les was a remarkable man in many ways, one of which was that he contracted rheumatoid arthritis in his teens which was extremely debilitating and left him unable to work by the age of 25. He didn’t let it define his life though and in his thirties he taught himself to juggle, no mean feat in the circumstances.
"Through this he met some other jugglers and in the late eighties he was involving in the creation of and became for many years the mainstay of the MADCAP Circus, teaching circus and performing skills to any young person who wanted to join in. He also performed and ran circus skills workshops all over Milton Keynes.
"Les inspired so many young people over the years and a number of them, now of course not so young, attended his funeral."
Among the numerous tribute paid to Les by his former circus pupils were:
"I will always be grateful for how he helped me turn my life around."
"When I was learning to juggle, Les taught me never to give up when something is difficult and now in my forties this still helps me through challenges that come my way."
"There are many things in my life I would never have done without Les."
"Les helped me to come out of the shadows and to stand up and be myself."