A retired HGV driver had his dying wish honoured when he arrived at his funeral – on the back of a 150 tonne LORRY.
Dad-of-one Bill Wood died after suffering an aneurysm at home in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., on May 22 – aged 82.
The former lorry driver worked for haulage firm J Warburton & Sons for 13 years before retiring to look after his wife Netta 20 years ago.
His last request was that he be taken to his funeral on the back of one of the firm’s HGV trucks.
On Monday, around 100 family and friends gathered to say a final farewell to Bill at Bradwell Crematorium in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs.
Mourners watched on as his wooden coffin arrived for the funeral on the back of a giant blue and white lorry – marked with the company logo.
Bill’s son-in-law John Harding, 51, described the procession as the ‘perfect send off’.
He said: “He was first and foremost a wagon driver and had been all his life.
“He was a very laid back and calm man and all he would talk about would be the lorries.
“It would have meant the world to him to know that a wagon was bringing him to the ceremony.
“It’s the perfect way to say goodbye really.”
Dave Warburton, director of J Warburton & Sons, said it was an honour that he had been asked to drive the coffin to the funeral.
The 48-year-old added: “I have known Bill since I was in my early teens because he was a good friend of my father and had worked for our family-run business for many years.
“When my father passed away, I drove his coffin in a truck to Carmountside Crematorium and Bill was sitting right next to me.
“So when Bill’s son-in-law asked me to drive his coffin to the funeral, I was privileged to do so.
“All the drivers who work in our company have said how much they will miss Bill.
“He was a brilliant guy.”
Bill grew up with his four sisters in Sandford, Stoke-on-Trent, and began his working life driving a milk float before training for his HGV licence.
He met his wife Netta in 1963 and became a step-dad to her daughters, Janetta and Jennifer before the couple went on to have a third child, Jacqueline.
Bill passed away at his home on the very same day his sister Margaret ‘Peggy’ Barker died in hospital – aged 85
Her funeral was also held at Bradwell Crematorium last Thursday.
Speaking at Bill’s funeral, vicar Fr John Stather said: “Bill’s last six months was spent quietly in the company of his family and friends at home.
“He passed away on the same day as his sister, Peggy, who we will also remember today, as we pray for his daughters, and for all of Bill’s family and friends.”
Bill’s daughter Jacqueline Harding, 51, added: “It was a shock to lose them both in the same day.
“It was a very sad day but touching to see just how many people turned up to see my dad off.”