Funeral takes place of 'father of all travellers' Simon Doherty, the father of Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire
Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

Travellers from across the UK and Ireland came together for the funeral of TV personality Paddy Doherty's father.

Hundreds of mourners joined the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Big Brother star to say goodbye to Simon Doherty, remembered as the "father of all travellers".

Roisin Mullins paying tribute to Simon Doherty, the father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty, during his funeral at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey.

Roisin Mullins paying tribute to Simon Doherty, the father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty, during his funeral at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey.

Friends and family attended a service at St Michael's Church in Ashtead, Surrey on Monday.

More than a dozen silver Rolls Royces, each bearing the Irish tricolour, lined up outside the church.

Mr Doherty's coffin was emblazoned with the colours of the Irish flag and the message: "Simon Doherty - Blacksmith, King of all Doherty's".

"He was like mafia in his own way, not in a bad way - any trouble they would go to him," the 58-year-old former bare knuckle fighter said.

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

"He was like the godfather - what he said was law.

"He said I want no one crying at my funeral, I want them happy, singing and get them drunk."

He sat with his hand resting on his father's coffin throughout the service and tributes, which included video footage of Mr Doherty in a horse race and a group of Irish dancers.

"He wasn't an average man - he was outstanding, a great man," he added.

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

"Everything had to be five stars for him, he lived the best and was the best.

"My poor mother - her heart is devastated, her heart is broken.

"I'm so grateful how many people have turned out - we just want everything to go well, everything has to be tremendous and over the top."

Close family members wore red ties, Mr Doherty's favourite colour, which they threw into his grave at St Mary's Catholic Cemetery at Kensal Green, north London.

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

The coffin was driven to the cemetery in a horse and carriage and carried up a red carpet to the sound of bagpipes.

Floral tributes were laid at the grave in the shape of an Irish shamrock, horseshoes, bottles of whisky, pint of Guinness and a Rolls Royce.

A bunch of green shamrock balloons and six white doves were released into the air as laments were sung at the graveside.

Mr Doherty, known as Simey, had 15 children and more than 150 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The great-grandfather, who was in his 80s, died in hospital in Epsom last week surrounded by his family after battling an ongoing illness.

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

Funeral of Simon Doherty. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire