GOTHS gathered on the coast at the weekend to give one of their number a dramatic send-off.

As night fell on Saturday, the ashes of Endel Opik, brother of Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik, were placed on a replica Viking longship.

The ship was then sent out to sea, before archers fired flaming arrows to set it ablaze.

Endel, known in goth circles as Tal Stoneheart, was a regular at the Whitby Gothic Weekend, held twice a year in the North Yorkshire resort.

Saturday's memorial service on Tate Hill Sands, Whitby, also featured emotional tributes from Endel's long-term partner, Claire Hanley-Opik, and Lembit.

The couple had a pagan wedding at the Barbrook stone circle, in the Peak District, in 2003.

Mrs Hanley-Opik, who also uses the name Fury Stoneheart, said: "Because of his health, I had talked to Endel about what he would have wanted if he passed away, and he always said he wanted to sail out to sea on a Viking longship from Whitby."

Personal items, including artwork, a synthesizer and pieces of meteorite were also placed on the longship.

The five-day festival was dedicated to the memory of Endel, who died in November aged 37.

He collapsed at his Derbyshire home and died from pneumonia after suffering from ill health all his life.

Endel, who was 6ft 8in, was a professional musician.

A festival spokesman said: "Whitby Gothic Weekend was a large part of Tal's life - he'd attended every one except the first two or three.

"He met his wife at Whitby Gothic Weekend, became engaged at Whitby Gothic Weekend, and it only seems fitting that his memorial should be held at Whitby Gothic Weekend."

The event, which has been held since 1993, regularly attracts more than 1,000 goths from all over the world.

Whitby was chosen as a location because of its links to Bram Stoker and his gothic novel, Dracula.

* The Viking funeral of Whitby resident Jeff Muse will take place on Tuesday, May 2. It was due to be held on Thursday, but was postponed because of a poor weather forecast.