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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Friends say farewell to Traveller ‘king’ in Carlisle

Hundreds of people from across the UK gathered in Carlisle to say goodbye to a “king” among the Traveller community.

Gypsy funeral photo
The funeral of William Henry Young senior, known as Harry

William Henry Young senior, known as Harry, died last Thursday at the age of 55. He lived at The Green, Houghton, near Carlisle.

Almost 300 people attended his funeral service at Our Lady & St Joseph’s church, Warwick Square, yesterday, with at least 200 more gathered on the streets outside.

It is tradition within the Gypsy and Traveller community for the majority of men not to go inside for the service. Among the guests was Paddy Doherty, winner of Celebrity Big Brother 2011 and star of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.

Police community support officers directed traffic around the church, as the hearse and three limousines parked outside.

The floral tributes were both plentiful and imaginative, with flowers in the shape of a traditional gypsy caravan, a pen, two horses’ heads and even a pint of John Smith’s lager.

Someone created a pub out of flowers with a photo of the Joiners Arms, Caldewgate, Carlisle, on the front, while the tribute from Mr Young’s children came in the form of a blue car with a ribbon number plate that read H Young.

Emotional messages were left from cousins, grandchildren and friends.

A moving tribute from his daughter read: “You will never know how much I love you, as there are no words to describe how much I will miss you every day; you are the man that I admire and look up to the most.”

There were so many flowers that they were not only displayed inside the hearse and in an ornate golden horse-drawn cart, but were also laid out on the back of two flat-bed lorries and a trailer.

As the church bells rang to signal the end of the service, the waiting crowd fell silent. Mr Young’s silver coffin was carried out of the church by his pall bearers, followed by his grieving family.

The procession, led by the funeral director from Michael Walsh, passed through Carlisle city centre to the crematorium in Dalston Road, where 50 additional mourners were waiting to pay their respects.

Mr Young’s family and friends gathered around the grave site and, as his coffin touched the ground, 12 white doves were released into the air.

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