New Romantic pioneer Steve Strange laid to rest

NEW Romantic pioneer Steve Strange was given a flamboyant send-off with 80s pop stars Boy George and Spandau Ballet brothers Martin and Gary Kemp pallbearers for the late Visage singer.

Pall bearers included Martin Kemp and Boy George. Picture: PA
Pall bearers included Martin Kemp and Boy George. Picture: PA
Pall bearers included Martin Kemp and Boy George. Picture: PA

Other celebrities attending a packed-out service at seaside town Porthcawl, south Wales, included Spandau’s Tony Hadley and bandmate Steve Norman as well as hairdresser Nicky Clarke.

Strange’s coffin, which was adorned with photographs of him looking his lavish best, was led up to the church by a marching jazz band before Visage’s biggest hit Fade To Grey boomed out of a PA system.

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There was a mixture of sadness and celebration as family, friends and fans recalled the life and times of the 55-year-old - who died last month while on holiday in Egypt.

Spandau Ballet saxophonist Norman told mourners Strange had taken him and bandmate Martin Kemp under his wing during the 1970s.

He said: “He was a generous and caring human being with a massive heart.

“A lot of great stuff has been said about Steve since his passing, about how he shaped the 1980s – and it is very much deserved. I just wish a few more people had told that to him when he was around … he was a sensitive soul who needed that affirmation from people.”

Norman recalled the last time he had spoken to Strange just before Christmas and took comfort in telling his long-time friend how much he loved him.

The service also include a passionate tribute from Boy George, who said: “Goodbye Steve – punk rocker, New Romantic, old romantic, first class show-off, fellow freak, beautiful gay man, seminal pop star, wrecking ball, futurist fashionista.”

Mourners also heard a rousing performance of the Welsh hymn Myfanwy from Bridgend Male Voice Choir. Among the floral tributes was one which describe Strange as “the quintessential peacock”.

As his coffin was loaded into the hearse, crowds, a mixture of fans and curious locals, burst into spontaneous applause. The Welsh singer’s real name was Stephen John Harrington and he founded Visage with bandmate Rusty Egan in 1978.