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Farewell to artist George Wyllie, Greenock

George Wyllie's Funeral Ceremony Scotland

Artist, George Wyllie

On a brilliantly sunny day, family, friends, colleagues and well-wishers gathered outside Greenock Crematorium to say farewell to artist George Wyllie.

The funeral ceremony was conducted by Victoria Bisland of Fuze Ceremonies. Inside, the mood at the 30-minute-long humanist service was anything but sombre.

Celebrant Victoria Bisland raised smiles as she told how Wyllie had once built a small boat in the family home in Northern Ireland, adding that the wall and window had to be removed so his creation could get on to the water.

Earlier, Ms Bisland told mourners: “It is natural to be sad today as you reflect on the fact George is no longer here. In another sense, though, the fact he was once a part of your lives can never be lost.”

She added the congregation had been “joined by new life”, a reference to eight-week-old Tara Linn-Moran, Wyllie’s grand-niece whom he was due to meet, but whose visit had to be cancelled when Wyllie fell ill.

She narrated details from the personal life of Shettleston-born Wyllie, who was forever known as Ralston to those closest to him. She spoke of his lifelong loves of jazz and sailing.

The service heard how, as an engineer with the Royal Navy, Wyllie travelled widely and, together with some shipmates, visited Hiroshima and witnessed the devastation wrought by the atomic bomb dropped two months earlier.

Ms Bisland said: “It was his time [there] that really influenced his philosophy of life. The memories of the atrocities he witnessed never left him.”

When he was older, as he embraced art his attitudes to life changed considerably, “and he went from being a strict father to his teenage daughters” to a man who embraced surrealism.

Ms Bilsland said Wyllie “always approached his work with a sense of humour and nostalgia, although it should never be forgotten there was always a more serious underlying message”.

See the full article in The Herald.