Posted by David Hall
Although Lorry Drivers are top of the Vintage Lorry Funerals customer league table, they are closely followed in the number two position by Football Fans.
Some Football Fan business has been derived from the 1950 Leyland Beaver’s red and blue livery and funerals have taken place for Fans whose teams play in similar colours. Currently the list includes Crystal Palace, West Ham and Portsmouth F. C.
However, a large volume of business has been attracted by David Hall’s ability to build a white goal posts Theme, with a green net, which is prominently displayed against a blue background of the headboard and rear of the cab of his vintage lorry. A Family’s Floral Tributes can be a ‘Football’, a ‘Shirt’ or a ‘Shield’ which are incorporated into the Theme. On one occasion two ‘Football’ tributes and a ‘Shirt’ were displayed on a stepped support structure, so that together they depicted a Player juggling the Ball in front of the coffin. Funerals in this category have included Fans of Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United, Southampton, Bristol Rovers and Stockport County.
Passions, with intense rivalry, are deeply ingrained within Football Fans from a broad cross section of society and an example of this was demonstrated at Croydon Crematorium. There was a delay in getting an Arsenal ‘Shield’ Floral Tribute from its position in the display into the Flower Holding Area. The problem was caused by the make up of the team of Bearers: three were Spurs fans and one was an Arsenal Fan. The Spurs fans wouldn’t touch it and the Arsenal fan continued to hug it and was reluctant to put it down.
David Hall has been successful in persuading Football Clubs to include details of a funeral in the Match Day Programme and he has been able to get extra copies for the Deceased’s Family. West Ham does not include obituaries in their Match Day Programme; however, a section of their website is made available for these purposes and an image of a 5 ft ‘Crossed Hammers’ Floral Tribute, fixed against the Headboard of the Leyland Beaver is now preserved for everyone to see.
The creation of the Goal Post Theme for a Stockport funeral was agreed with the deceased’s Daughter but kept secret from other Family members. For this funeral the Theme was customised using green plastic under the ‘Football’ Floral Tribute to replicate grass.
Normally on long distance funerals David Hall attempts to arrange secure parking for the lorry and overnight accommodation for himself within a close proximity of the Funeral Directors premises and the facilities arranged for this funeral were the best so far. The Leyland Beaver was parked within the grounds of Stockport Crematorium, David stayed in the Premier Inn next door and S Ellam Funeral Directors were less than 100 yards down the road.
Everyone was delighted with the display, including mates of the Deceased who knew about the involvement of the lorry, but not the detailed joinery work that would be undertaken to create this most appropriate Theme, where the Deceased’s Stockport County scarf provided the final touch.