A man who asked to have his ashes used in a fireworks display after his death has had his request rejected by the council.
Mick Finnikin, 68, of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, died of a heart attack last year, after informing friends of his last wishes folllowing previous health scares.
One friend, Carolyn Brown, subsequently spent just under a year organising the fireworks display, which she said would finally enable her pal to “go out with a bang”.
However, Derbyshire Dales Council has rejected the idea amid concerns about Finnikin’s ashes landing in gardens.
A spokesperson for the authority told HuffPost UK: “The request for a licence to carry out the firework display as a tribute for Mick Finnikin at Ashbourne Recreation Ground was rejected after concerns were raised by Ashbourne Town Council and local District Council ward members during the consultation period, a process that is carried out for all events that are requested to take place on council land.”
Brown tracked down an Oxfordshire-based fireworks company willing to put on Finnikin’s display and then approach the council for permission to use the town’s recreation ground for a public launch of 30 fireworks, each containing around a teaspoon’s worth of ashes.
Ashbourne South councillor Thomas Donnelly said he was concerned that the display would set a precedent and said he had received phone calls, emails and feedback from local residents objecting to it.
“Where they’re actually doing is, there are gardens right underneath where the rockets would fall off. My constituents weren’t happy with it – that’s the main thing. I’ve got to look after them and their needs,” he told HuffPost.
“I understand why his friends want to do the display – perhaps if they do it somewhere else like on a field or in the countryside, then it would be much better.”
Describing Finnikin as “a character”, who once bungee jumped naked in Australia, Donnelley said he knew the pensioner and his family well.
“He was an unassuming lad who didn’t bother anybody. He came from a farming family.
“I’m very saddened by his death,” the councillor added.
Following conflicting reports in regional press, reporting on whether or not the display would happen, Donnelly said that the matter should not have been publicised to begin with, because arrangements had not been finalised.
The display had been pencilled in for 6 February, but it is feared the date will now be pushed back.
Reacting to the council’s rejection, Brown told Derbyshire Live: “I feel really, really bad. It’s like being punched continually in the stomach because I’ve been through all this, I hit all the walls, and I thought we’d got over it and I thought we’d got everything fit to go.
“This man was my best friend. We’ve been friends for nearly 40 years, we used to go and do stuff together, how would you feel if someone told you you couldn’t have your best friend’s memorial, when you’d fought so hard to get it?”