LANCASHIRE Telegraph columnist, author, scientist, and historian Ron Freethy will be given a ‘green’ burial on Friday.

His son Paul, who had a heart pacemaker fitted yesterday, is hoping to be fit to attend the funeral.

Friday’s tributes start at 1pm with a memorial service at St Mary’s Church, Newchurch in Pendle, followed by a celebration of the 77-year-old’s life at Roughlee village hall.

At the same time a private, family eco-friendly burial will be held at Jo Belbin Memorial Woodland Cemetery at Barrowford.

As arrangements were announced, international TV ecologist David Bellamy paid tribute. He said: “I was very sorry to hear about Ron Freethy's death. He was an excellent naturalist and scientist and not afraid to tell the truth. He will be missed by many, especially readers of his column in the Lancashire Telegraph.”

Mr Freethy will be buried in a willow coffin with a tree planted between it and the neighbour plot reserved for his wife Marlene.

The sapling will be either a Rowan or Birch, both favourites of the couple. All items used will be bio-degradable.

Donations have been requested for Water Aid and British Heart Foundation and a ‘Just Giving’ page is being set up.

Funeral arrangements are being made by Co-op Funeral service in Burnley.

Mrs Freethy said: “We knew Paul had a slight heart problem but we did not expect this. He is hoping to be fit to attend on Friday.

“I am gobsmacked by the reaction since Ron passed away. It’s been amazing. I did not realise how admired and loved he was.”