Tribute is sky high for taxi man Twed

An eye in the sky has captured the moments taxi drivers gathered to create a procession in tribute to a cab boss.

Dozens of hackney taxis answered the call to show respect for Ray Tweddle as the grandfather was given his final farewell, with the moments they spent gathering to form the line captured by drone footage.

Strealine Taxi boss Ray - or Twed as he was known to his friends and family - died on April 9 in his sleep.

Three years ago he had been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare and serious condition of the peripheral nervous system which causes muscle weakness.

The parade of taxis pulled through the streets of Hartlepool to All Saints Church in Stranton, where hundreds of people gathered for his service.

Many wore yellow as a sign of respect, with floral displays in the colour also filling his car and adorning his coffin.

On the film, the cars can be seen arriving behind Ray and his family cars.

It was recorded by Simon Rogerson, from Rift House, used his kit to make the recording, which has proved popular on Facebook and through his YouTube channel.

The 47-year-old, who works with the Jar Family, said: “I didn’t know Ray personally but I was taxi driver for a while and I know he was a well-known character in the town. I’m in the process of going through my permission to become a licensed pilot, so I though it would be visible from the sky and it was a beautiful day.”

The video was taken between 295ft and 375ft in the air, with Simon keeping to the restrictions in place for drone craft.

We went round all the lads asking them if they would turn out for Twed, but we really didn’t have to ask, they all said they’d be there.

Stephen Picton

The finished film, which runs beyond 10 minutes, features photos of Ray and is accompanied by a soundtrack of Ave Maria, which was sung at his funeral and cremation service, and House of the Rising Sun, one of his favourite songs.

Stephen Picton, 45, worked alongside Neil Handiside to gather together taxi drivers for the procession, as well as floral tributes including one which spelt out ‘taxi’ on one side and ‘Twed’ on the other.

They also arranged for doves to be released at the church, as Ray kept birds.

Stephen said: “We went round all the lads asking them if they would turn out for Twed, but we really didn’t have to ask, they all said they’d be there.

“He’d been in the business so long, everyone knew him.”