Final ovation for circus school's 'maverick' Will Chamberlain
Mourners gave a standing ovation to a "maverick" circus arts teacher and director at his funeral yesterday.
Will Chamberlain (54) passed away last Thursday, leaving behind two daughters, Beth (18) and Ellie (20). His old clown costume was dressed on a mannequin in tribute to the performer in Belfast Community Circus School (BCCS).
And Christmas lights were hung on the walls in memory of a Christmas light competition he had with his neighbours each year.
Will had been the director of the BCCS since 1996 and taught hundreds of children circus skills. Under his directorship, the waiting list for the school is now years long, with some people enrolling their children before they are even born.
Will has left behind a legacy, with the concept for a new circus school in Belfast having been finalised in his final few months. BCCS will have to raise around £12m to bring his idea to life and is welcoming donations to Belfast Circus and Myeloma UK.
Will's sister, Sue McKenzie (56), said: "He was a maverick, he was very stubborn and bull-headed, but he was just a man with complete integrity. I am extremely proud of all he managed to achieve, as well as raising two beautiful daughters."
In a eulogy, Cath McBride read a list of how to live a life as happy as Will's. She said: "Love your loved ones with every fibre of you, listen, support and care unconditionally, care less about what people think of you, and eat cheese and drink wine as often as you can, and always find the funny."