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Air hostess Holly creates unique wave memorial to her dad – a ‘proppa Tipton bloke’

Amongst the graves at a Black Country cemetery one stands out for its highly unusual shape and features.

Carved out of granite to look like a wave, it reflects the character and passions of a Tipton man who loved the sea and travelling to faraway places.

The headstone includes a picture of a beach fringed by palm trees and an image of Lee Bevington, with his baseball cap turned round, at the centre of the sun radiating out over the water.

Standing on the grave is a miniature statue of a footballer and at the foot the badge of Wolverhampton Wanderers. In his youth, the father-of-two was a striker for Tipton Town FC and was once described by Steve Bull as a ‘cracking’ footballer.’ Injury cut short his playing career after he broke his ankle twice, but he retained his love of the game and was a lifelong Wolves fan.

Holly Bevington holds picture of her dad next to wave memorial.

Holly Bevington holds a picture of her dad next to the wave memorial she designed.

Coseley Halliwell produced the striking tribute at Tipton Cemetery for his daughter Holly who came up with her own design to remember her much-loved dad. It stands 6ft high and because of the intricate artwork cost nearly £7,000 to create. The money was raised by the family and from a collection at his funeral where the mourners all wore Wolves shirts – even those supporting arch rivals West Brom.

The epitaph in gold lettering reads: ‘To the world just one, but to us all the world’ and ‘A proppa Tipton bloke’ – which was engraved on his dog tag.

The theme of the sun is even extended into the recording of his lifespan – Sunrise 18th May 1965 – Sunset 14th August 2016, and on the reverse the inscription is that of his nickname, Big Bevo.

Yvonne Harper, a funeral director at Coseley Halliwell, said it is rare for a family to design their own headstone.

“Holly was good at art when she was at school and drew everything herself. We are really pleased how it’s turned out and it’s such a personal gesture for her dad.”

Lee, a former chemical processing manager with Oldbury-based Albright and Wilson, was a diabetic and died aged 51 from liver failure. Born and bred in Tipton, he was a well-known, popular figure in the community. As a young man he was a handsome lifeguard at the old Tipton swimming baths.

Holly, a British Airways air hostess, was determined her ‘papa’ would never be forgotten. Describing him as a ‘sociable, cheeky chappy,’ she said:

“He really stood out in life and now he stands out in the cemetery too. My dad was a huge part of my life and always will be. This is where I know my happy place is with him and I wanted to put his personality into his memorial.

“He loved travel. As a child we were always holidaying abroad. His favourite place was Cyprus. So the wave signifies the sea. He used to enjoy listening to the sea and the sun always seemed to shine out of him.

“I cried when it was put up. It was better than I ever could have imagined. Now it makes me smile when I visit it. Every time I go there the sun seems to shine down.”

Holly, 30, of Bridge Street, Coseley singled out Yvonne Harper for her help in arranging the unique memorial.

“It took a lot of explaining what I wanted, but Yvonne was absolutely brilliant. She is so caring and thoughtful and made it easy for me,” she added.

“I may have also started a trend. I met somebody in the cemetery who liked it so much she is designing one for her dad too.”

Yvonne said: “We had to wait for the ground to settle before we could put up the memorial. Holly drew the picture herself and it was then painted by hand onto the stone. She also chose the verses. It took several months to complete because of all the different elements to it.

“We’re so pleased to have been able to assist her in creating this wonderful tribute to her father.”

Lee attended Alexandra School and is now buried in the cemetery next door. He remained friends with his ex-wife Theresa but never remarried. He also leaves his son Jamie, father Joseph, brother Karl, sister Ruth and grandchildren Lloyd and Velentia.