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.
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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.
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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.
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