VIDEO: Laughter as the life of Britain's oldest man, Reg Dean, is celebrated at his funeral
HUNDREDS of people have packed a church to celebrate the life of Britain's oldest man, who died aged 110.
Extra seats were laid out as around 300 people turned out in snowy and cold conditions to attend the funeral of Reg Dean at St Mary's Church in the picturesque village of Wirksworth, Derbyshire.
Mr Dean, a former minister, died earlier this month at the grand old age of exactly 110 years and 63 days.
He became Britain's oldest man in June 2010 after the death of Stanley Lucas, aged 110, of Cornwall.
Mr Dean's son Christopher said his father had only ever wanted to help others and make a difference to their lives.
Mr Dean was heavily involved in charity work throughout his life and completed a sponsored walk from Nottingham to Derby at the age of 90.
He set up a Fairtrade store in his downstairs lounge, when he still lived at home, calling the franchise Traidcraft – it became Traid Links and continues to successfully operate in Wirksworth to this day.
In the 1980s he set up the Dalesmen Male Voice Choir in Derbyshire, and in a joint celebration of their 25th anniversary and his 110th birthday and position as their life president last year, they donated a cheque to charity helping people in Africa in his honour.
The choir sang hymns as the congregation filed into church for the service, and many members wiped tears from their eyes between songs.
Mr Dean died at the Waltham House assisted living apartment in Wirksworth, where he had resided for the past seven years, on January 5.
Giving a tribute to his father in church, Mr Dean's son told the congregation the word that came to mind when he thought of his father was "remarkable".
Describing the many messages and phone calls he has had since his father's death, he said: "I've had to tell them he was a remarkable man.
"Remarkable for his life – 110 and 63 days, the 63 days are very important - and remarkable for what he achieved.
"He did a great deal for many people.
"He was a man with a great sense of humour.
"When he was surrounded by reporters and cameramen on his 110th birthday, one unfortunate reporter said, 'I hear you're 110' and he said, 'yes, don't blame me'."
Mr Dean also described how his father received his 10th telegram from the State on his last birthday and said, to a hearty laugh from the congregation, his response was to comment: "They know I'm dying but they think I'm taking too long about it."