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Fans dig deep for 'beautiful' tribute to glam rocker Bolan

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 August 2012

Barry Smith holds up a mirrored image of Marc Bolan at Golders Green Crematorium in 2010. Picture: Polly Hancock

Barry Smith holds up a mirrored image of Marc Bolan at Golders Green Crematorium in 2010. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Fans of 1970s glam rock band T. Rex's lead singer and guitarist Marc Bolan have raised money for a bench to celebrate the 35th anniversary of his death

The specially commissioned bench will be unveiled at a service on September 16 at Golders Green Crematorium in Hoop Lane, Golders Green, where Bolan’s ashes are buried.

Rabbi Henry Goldstein will conduct a service in the building’s west chapel where he officiated at Bolan’s funeral in 1977.

Bolan died in a car crash aged 29 when the purple Mini being driven by girlfriend Gloria Jones, and mother of his son, hit a tree in Barnes, south-west London.

Retail manager Barry Smith, 55, who is organising the memorial service and spearheaded the fundraising bench campaign, believes it will be a special day.

He said: “It is always a very poignant time, but this year it will be made especially so with the memorial being held in the very building where the world said goodbye to Marc 35 years ago.

“There are also a few surprises lined up for the day, and they will delight family, friends and fans alike I am sure.”

Mr Smith has been a die-hard Marc Bolan fan since he was 13 and has conducted a memorial service for the star on the anniversary of his death at Golders Green Crematorium for the past 15 years.

“Marc’s been a part of my life for 44 years,” said Mr Smith, who lives in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

“When I got married I missed the funeral, so I spent my honeymoon in London so I could visit Marc’s grave.

“I wanted to pay my respects as soon as possible.

“I have gone to the crematorium on the anniversary of his death for the last 35 years.”

The bench has cost more than £4,000 to commission and a further £1,000 has been spent securing the lease for the site at the crematorium for the next 20 years. Money was raised by fans who either made a donation or raised the money via the sale of CDs or Bolan conventions.

There are already three memorial plaques dedicated to Mr Bolan’s memory at the crematorium, with the last one being unveiled five years ago at his 30th memorial service attended by more than 500 fans.

“The hand-carved bench will be a long-lasting and beautiful tribute to his memory,” added Mr Smith.

“It contains elements that are essentially Marc.”

The memorial service at Hoop Lane Crematorium will begin at 2pm and will feature guest speakers.

Members of Mr Bolan’s family will also attend.

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