Hundreds of people filled a Hove church for the funeral of a much-loved family doctor.
Mike Sharman died last month at the age of 78 having served thousands of local people as a widely admired GP (general practitioner) until his retirement in 2006.
And in his retirement his commitment to the community showed no signs of abating as he set up the Kingsway and West Hove Residents’ Association (KAWHRA).
He was also behind the transformation of a patch of neglected land known as the Secret Garden, by St Leonard’s Church, in New Church Road, Hove.
It was at St Leonard’s where the Archdeacon of Brighton and Lewes Martin Lloyd Williams led the funeral service, describing him as “a much-loved doctor and a leader of the community”.
Former colleagues remembered Dr Sharman starting his career as a GP in the 1960s at the Eaton Place surgery, which has since closed, before joining a practice in Sackville Road in 1966.
He and his fellow partners outgrew their premises. They opened a new surgery in West Way, in Hangleton, which has since become Hove Medical Centre.
One of them said: “Mike was a fine doctor, a wise senior partner and a very good friend.”
And another former Hove Medical Centre partner, Nick Bodkin, was among those to remember Dr Sharman’s love of dressing up.
Dr Bodkin said that they donned Brighton and Hove Albion shirts and scarves when the Seagulls reached the FA Cup Final in 1983.
They ended up on the front page of the Evening Argus – now The Argus – under the headline “Doctors go down with cup fever”.
Dr Bodkin added: “We had great fun together. I shall miss him.”
Dr Sharman’s cousin Mike Middleton spoke about their childhood together – they were raised as brothers in Hitchin – and described his natural curiosity and his talent for science, his creativity and his inventions.
Mr Middleton said: “Mike was a great brother and a great leader. He was a diligent student. He was thoughtful, funny and enjoyed music. Most of all I remember Mike for his sense of adventure and fun.”
Dr Sharman had two children, Nick and Samantha, from his first marriage. Sam’s husband Calvin spoke about Dr Sharman’s “lifelong passion for creativity and conservation”.
He was lovable and loyal and “an amazingly talented pianist, with a love of jazz”.
“As a GP, he adored his job. He genuinely cared for his patients. And he worked tirelessly for the Martlets Hospice.”
Among the tributes one said: “There will a giant moustache-shaped hole in our lives.”
And his son Nick described him as “the kindest moral guide a son could have”.
Dr Sharman met his wife Sheila in the 1980s and they celebrated their silver wedding anniversary last year.
Among their adventures together, they cycled from one end of France to the other on a tandem to raise money for the Martlets.
Michael John Sharman was born in Luton on 22 November 1939. He died at his home in Hove on Friday 24 August 2018.