Friends ‘crowd-paint’ coffin for Halton man with terminal cancer

Roger Wolfe
Roger Wolfe

A Halton man with terminal cancer asked his neighbours to “crowd-paint” his coffin.

Roger Wolfe, 65, who lives at Lancaster Co-Housing, asked his friends and neighbours to decorate the cardboard coffin he had chosen in brightly coloured paint.

The colourful cardboard coffin

The colourful cardboard coffin

Roger, who is currently staying at St John’s Hospice, has been described as a “beautiful man with a generous soul and mischevious sense of humour”.

He has had multiple myeloma for nine years.

The disease worsened earlier this year, and Roger decided to stop taking his cancer medication.

Alison Cahn and her partner, Halton City Councillor Kevin Frea, have been looking after Roger over the past few months.

Alison said: “One of the things he wanted to do was to be involved in planning his funeral, including choosing his coffin. He’s going for a woodland burial in Settle, and a cardboard coffin.

WCatriona Stamp is an artist and has painted several coffins, including her mother’s a year or so ago.

“She offered to oversee the decoration of Roger’s coffin.

“Roger decided he wanted a crowd-painted coffin, with people from cohousing and other friends all helping to paint it. He told Kate that he wanted a graffiti feel to it.

“Kate held some painting sessions in the arts and crafts room in the Mill, supplying paint and helping people who are nervous about painting, and Roger came to a couple of them, and made his views clear!”
Roger moved to the co-housing community at Forgebank Weir in 2017. He is originally from Hertfordshire, but moved to Leeds when he was 22.

He is interested in history, and worked in a university library in York for many years.

He has also made massage tables, worked for the tax inspectorate and for a cooperative baker.

In Lancaster Roger helped set up and run the Skerton Intercepted Food Club, which offers surplus food to those who can use it, and was treasurer for the Carnforth branch of the Labour Party.

Alison added: “He’s been very open with us all, not wanting us to avoid the subject of death and dying but happy to talk about it.

“He sees that as one of his gifts to the community.

“Roger is a beautiful man, with a generous soul, a mischievous sense of humour, and a smile that lights the world.”