Beloved Littlehampton diver gets final send off

After a long two years, local diver Bernard ‘Bernie’ Attwood has finally had his ashes spread off the coast of Littlehampton, where he spent the majority of his time.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 2:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th October 2021, 2:42 pm

Bernie passed away two years ago, aged 79, due to a suspected heart attack. His death was a ‘terrible shock’ to his wife, Rene, his family, and to everyone that knew him, Rene said.

Bernie was a popular, respected man amongst the diving community, and many people showed their support on Tuesday, September 28, when Bernie’s ashes were spread.

Rene, 78, said the day was ‘very emotional’. She added: “We were supposed to have spread his ashes two years ago before we went into lockdown, and each time we were planning to reschedule we couldn’t again because of the multiple lockdowns.

Beloved local diver, Bernard 'Bernie' Attwood finally gets his ashes spread at sea after a long 18 months

“It just so happened that the day we scheduled to finally have his send off was on his birthday.

“Everybody came down for Bernie, there were about 50 people there, even people from the TV as they used to go out on his boat with him.

“There were three great-big fishing boats that went out to sea full of people, alongside two diving boats which carried Bernie’s ashes, which went out a little further and spread them.

“Bernie loved his beer, especially Stella, so everybody had a can of Stella and drunk it when his ashes were going into the sea.”

Bernard 'Bernie' Attwood was featured on the front page of the West Sussex Gazette in 1990. Picture by Steve Robards

Bernie spent 45 years exploring wrecks off the Littlehampton coast alongside fellow diver and friend Ray Lee.

Ray, 84, from East Preston, said: “Bernie was a good skipper and was an excellent diver. Bernie could go down into the pitch-black sea and tell you which way the wreck was facing just by feeling it.

“We dived this area together for 45 years. We know this area very well.

“The day we scattered Bernie’s ashes made me feel happy because at last, he is laid to rest. The day consisted of a whole community of people who loved him. Bernie was a rough diamond but deep down he was a smashing bloke.”

Local diver Ray Lee was a friend of another diver Bernie Attwood who had his ashes scattered at sea on 28th September. Picture by Steve Robards