Big send-off given to trucker Tony

Funeral of trucker Tony Butler at Shiregreen with his Little Britain liveried Scania lorry leading the funeral cortege
Funeral of trucker Tony Butler at Shiregreen with his Little Britain liveried Scania lorry leading the funeral cortege
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IT was certainly a funeral cortege with a difference - but remained a fitting tribute to a long-distance lorry driver who died from cancer, aged only 51.

The procession of mourners attending the funeral of Tony Butler were led by the distinctive truck he had driven all over the country and across Europe.

Decorated with images from the popular Little Britain TV show and decked out in the colours of his employers, Intake Transport, the Scania lorry was a talking point everywhere he went.

His partner Joyce Burgin said it was the obvious vehicle to lead the cortege as it made its way from his home in Torksey Road, Firth Park, to Shiregreen Cemetery - with his son Adam, aged 22, riding up front.

Tony, also dad to Amy, 18, died just 13 weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The illness forced him to leave the industry he loved and in which he worked for more than 30 years.

He joined Intake Transport 15 years ago and worked transporting heavy haulage from industries across the city like Forgemasters.

When the company - which decorates all its vehicles in different themes such as film stars and local football clubs - celebrated its 10th birthday, Little Britain was a hit show.

They decided their anniversary truck should celebrate the comedy series - particularly as it would be driven all over the UK - and Tony was picked as the one to drive it.

Joyce, 63, said: “It’s certainly unique - much like Tony!

“Everybody knew him up and down the country, people came from Birmingham and Liverpool and even Scotland to attend his funeral.

“The phone calls I’ve had since he died have given me the strength to get through this time. Knowing how much people thought of him has been such a comfort.

“He was an amazing bloke.”

Bob Oldale, accounts manager at Intake Transport, added: “He was a good, hard worker and such a nice man. He was well respected by everyone who knew him - no-one had a bad word to say about him. He did the company, and the truck, proud.”