Hundreds of mourners created a sea of yellow in memory of a ‘true gentleman’ taxi driver as dozens of cabs joined him has he made his final journey to church.
The funeral of Ray Tweddle - known as Twed - brought together hundreds of people, with many wearing yellow as a mark of respect.
The grandad, who ran Streamline Taxis in Hartlepool and was well-known for his charity work, died in his sleep earlier this month.
He had fallen ill three years ago with Guillain-Barre syndrome.
The funeral procession saw a huge turn out of taxis follow behind his car to All Saints Church in Stranton, while yellow floral tributes included one which spelt out his nickname in the form of a number plate.
Reverend Kevin Tomes told the congregation: “The really special thing about Twed wasn’t just how funny he was, but that he kept that until the end. That’s not just being a character, that’s having depth of character as well.
The really special thing about Twed wasn’t just how funny he was, but that he kept that until the end.Reverend Kevin Tomes
“I know you will all have your own precious memories of Ray.”
Rev Tomes spoke of how Ray married Julie in hospital after he became unwell, with the family passing on their thanks to all those who helped care for him.
Ray’s friend John Garthwaite led tributes to him during the service, speaking about funny incidents they had both been involved in, how they became friends through working on the taxis and how he would have been an Oscar winner for drama and comedy.
Ray’s niece Rebecca, who had recorded a CD for her uncle, sang Ave Maria for the congregation and performed the song at the cremation ceremony which followed.
Mourners were told of his love for animals, especially dogs, and how he kept pigeons, rabbits and a bred budgies, and how he loved to go on holiday.
Ken Rigg, 69, who worked with him fore more than 30 years in the trade, told the Mail: “He was a character. He would always help people in hard times and he really helped me. He would be very happy to see so many people here.” Others said he was a “true gentleman.”
Ray, who worked in the steel industry before setting up his firm, leaves wife Julie, daughter Lindsey, step-daughter Jane, and grandchildren Katie and Taylor-Ray, sister Linda, brother-in-law Tony and mother-in-law Sylvia.