Express & Star

Preacher's funerals go with a blast

A preacher with a passion for pyrotechnics is giving firework fans an explosive exit.


A preacher with a passion for pyrotechnics is giving firework fans an explosive exit.

Chris Pearce, managing director of Dudley-based Jubilee Fireworks, gives sparkling send-offs on request.

He launches rockets loaded with cremated remains into the sky, ensuring a fitting farewell for watching relatives.

As well as his day job the 49-year-old gives sermons on the side and he has even introduced fireworks to his services so that they go with a bang.

Methodist Mr Pearce has given his daring displays at churches in Dudley, Tipton, West Bromwich and Wednesbury as well as obliging with the special scattering ceremonies.

"One or two people every year request to have their ashes launched in a rocket," he said. "Particularly firework enthusiasts decide this is a good way to say goodbye.

"Other people choose to have their ashes scattered on a football pitch and people who like fireworks often have this idea."

Despite catering for quirky requests father-of-two Mr Pearce, who has run his fireworks firm from its base on the Dawley Trading Estate in Kingswinford for 23 years, says he has more traditional tastes.

"I'm quite happy to do it for other people but I'm a very traditional person at heart," he said.

"I will probably go in a box in the ground.I might have a rocket put in the box with me. That's as far as I'd go."

Explaining his use of fireworks in services, Mr Pearce added preachers needed to find new ways to connect with congregations.

"I use fireworks to demonstrate particular points, such as the fact Moses encountered God in a burning bush," he said.

"What I think we have to do these days is look at different ways of expressing old truths.

"People are more geared to visual things than sitting and listening to asermon."

Mr Pearce, who employs 40 people at Jubilee Fireworks Ltd, recently launched an attack on Dudley Council after it announced plans to ban private fireworks parties.

Leader Councillor Anne Millward wants a motion for a nationwide ban to be put before parliament.

Mr Pearce says it would harm his trade making redundancies inevitable.

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