It’s not unusual for people to choose their coffins before they die, but 48-year-old Anto Wickham’s choice is a rather strange one. He’s gone and spent $50,000 on a 10-foot casket shaped like a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey.
Wickham says he doesn’t want a normal funeral, it has to be a celebration of life because he had been to ‘too many funerals of colleagues where they were very sad occasions’. So the father-of-six decided to go for something completely different.
Well, the shape of the coffin might be bizarre, but Wickham, a former soldier, has a pretty valid reason for choosing it. After witnessing the death of eight Army pals during the Iraq war, he began to plan his own funeral – he decided he wants it to be a celebration, rather than a mourning.
“While working in Iraq I had a very close call,” said Wickham, who spent 22 years with the Royal Irish Regiment. “Over a 28-day period in February 2007, I was attacked 74 times and there were some days we would get three or four hits in one day. I was attacked by heavy machine gun fire, IEDs and roadside bombs.”
Interestingly, Wickham’s favorite drink happens to be Jack Daniels, so he was toying around with the idea of using it as a theme for his own funeral. And when he was at home on leave, he saw a TV program about Crazy Coffins, a company that specialises in unique, outrageous caskets. “I asked would it be possible to make it and the answer was yes.”
The coffin was finally ready after several months of work, and Wickham flew in from Afghanistan just to take his first glimpse of it. “It is absolutely fantastic,” he exclaimed. “They have done a fantastic job. It is just amazing,” he added.
Anto says he also has other ideas to make his burial more exciting exciting: “I plan to approach Guinness to see if they would agree to take me to my service in one of their delivery vans – for the complete effect. And for the music, he opted for Sid Vicious’ ‘My Way’, “because I am doing everything my way.”