TV personality Paddy Doherty has praised a Sutton funeral director for his help organising a service in memory of his father.
Hundreds of mourners joined the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Celebrity Big Brother star in Surrey to say goodbye to Simon Doherty, remembered as the “father of all Travellers.”
Paul Brown, of A Wass funeral directors, on Priestsic Road, Sutton, was given the huge task of organising the extravagant funeral in just four days.
He will also appear in a documentary about the Traveller community on Channel 4 later this year.
Paul, who has been a funeral director for 20 years, said he arranged for a dozen silver Rolls-Royces to follow the hearse, each bearing the Irish tricolour.
The coffin was emblazoned with the colours of the Irish flag and the message “Simon Doherty – blacksmith, King of all Dohertys”.
It was driven to the cemetery in a horse and carriage and carried up a 50 metre red carpet.
Irish dancers performed and doves were released at the service in St Michael’s Church, Ashtead.
Paddy said: “I can’t praise Paul and his staff enough.
“It was a big responsibility but everything we asked for he gave us. It was fantastic.
“We said the only thing wrong with the funeral was my father wasn’t alive to see it. “
Paul said it was the biggest funeral he had ever organised, although he has arranged many others for Traveller families.
He said:“To be entrusted with this by the family was a privilege and I wanted to do my best for them.
“It took some organising, because they wanted it to be the biggest and the best.
“But it went like clockwork on the day and thousands of people were there, it was amazing to see.
“It was a fantastic send-off and very heartfelt.”