Hundreds turn out for Viking funeral

HUNDREDS of people gathered on Whitby's Tate Hill Sands on Saturday for the Viking funeral of goth regular Endel Opik, aka Tal Stoneheart.

The event began just after sunset with speeches from Tal's wife Claire and his brother, Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik.

A replica Viking longboat had been positioned just off the sand in the harbour and appeared to have been liberally soaked in an accelerant.

Live music was played and Tal's ashes were then placed on the longboat which was ignited by archers firing flaming arrows.

The boat burned fiercely for around 15 minutes, lighting up the harbour and the night sky.

The entire event lasted around two hours and had been organised to be a celebration of Tal's life. In this way it succeeded as a real party atmosphere prevailed.

Tal died last year from pneumonia.

His brother said his wishes were for a traditional Viking funeral.

He said Tal was a gentle giant who was 6ft 8in and naturally blonde, giving him the appearance of a modern-day Viking.

Mr Opik added: "He was very individualistic and very comfortable with the goth culture.

"He really felt a sense of belonging in Whitby at the goth festival."