Final farewell to popular artist and entertainer James 'Justso' Ridington
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Bright sunflowers, street entertainers and a sprinkling of clown attire graced the streets of Dereham for a much-loved entertainer’s funeral.
Children’s entertainer and locally-renowned artist, larger-than-life James “Justso” Ridington died last month from prostate cancer following a diagnosis in 2003.
Born Kenneth James Ridington on May 29, 1943, he had lived in Norfolk since 1966.
He began working as an entertainer in 1987 after teaching himself how to juggle. He covered a variety of events, fetes, carnivals, and parties, and also performed illusions, walked on beds of nails, carried out balloon modelling, as well as fire-eating.
In August 2018, Mr Ridington semi-retired from the entertainment business in order to paint pictures to raise money for local charities, including Dereham Cancer Care and the Zoological Society of East Anglia. A member of the Natural World Art Society, based at Banham Zoo Art Gallery, near Attleborough, he also held exhibits there.
His painting of Janet Money, the founder of the Dereham Cancer Care centre, who died aged 73 on December 15, 2020, caught the attention of many. The painting has since been donated to the centre as a tribute to her.
As well as attending meetings there, he ran art classes for members of the centre, as well as organising exhibitions of his paintings which raised hundreds of pounds for the organisation over the years.
His funeral took place on Wednesday, September 1, at St Nicholas Church and saw the procession come through Dereham’s Market Place and High Street. His wife, Marlene Ridington, 71, was joined by members of the family to pay a final farewell.
- 1 Man dies after collapsing during dog walk in Norfolk village
- 2 Young people transform care home's garden in just four days
- 3 A47 reopens after serious crash near Swaffham
- 4 Long-delayed wedding finally takes place... in 1941
- 5 Final details revealed ahead of Queen's Dragoon Guards freedom parade
- 6 Road closures to be put in place for Queen's Dragoon Guards parade
- 7 'Proper farming' sees dairy family crowned Norfolk farm champions
- 8 Man charged in connection with burglary at Dereham home
- 9 Why has my car been covered in dust?
- 10 Man caught with cannabis after armed police called to Dereham park
She described her husband’s entertaining years as “very successful” and said he enjoyed the limelight and “being an exhibitionist”.
Entertainer and family friend Olly Day was also present at the funeral.
Mr Ridington died on August 4, aged 78, and leaves behind his wife, two daughters, son-in-law Craig, step-son Simon, Lorraine and Sinead, and grandchildren Wil, Toby, Jamie, Jake and Frankie.
To view all our obituaries and tributes, you can now join the Facebook group Norfolk's Loved & Lost.