A caring Sheffield funeral director was today hailed a hero after he battled Arctic weather conditions to ensure a family funeral went ahead.
Michael Fogg towed his hearse to the cemetery, picked up the family in his 4x4 and even arranged a lift for the stranded vicar.
Despite the snow and ice which blanketed the city, the funeral of 82-year-old Syd Jacques went ahead as planned on Thursday. Close family friend Beverley Howell said it had been particularly important for Syd to be taken to the service from his home on Chadwick Road, Woodthorpe.
“He was born in that house and he lived there for 82 years so it was only right that he went from home,” she said. “I’m in awe of what Michael did because it was very, very slippery but he managed to get Syd and the hearse outside his house so he could go from home.
“I can’t thank him enough. He is so professional and compassionate in what he does and his work force puts in 100 per cent. It was pure excellence.”
Mr Fogg, based on Woodhouse Road, was up at 4am clearing the snow which had fallen overnight.
He said: “The weather was unbelievable and it continued to snow all morning. We liaised with the family and came to the decision that the funeral wouldn’t be cancelled.
“There should have been two limousines for Syd but we couldn’t get the limos to the home address, which is on a really steep hill and it hadn’t been cleared or gritted. So I fetched all the mourners in my Range Rover. We got all the mourners up to City Road and arranged with one of the staff to pick up the vicar and bring him there.”
Mr Fogg also had a task on his hands to get the hearse to the very steep Chadwick Road. He said: “I know this sounds a bit crazy but I have a 1910 old hearse. I knew Syd personally and he loved that hearse. He said to me, ‘When I die I want to go in that’.
“That was his wish, so we towed the hearse to the family home with the Range Rover. When we got there the front of the Range Rover was tied to the rear of the hearse and we lowered it down to the house. The hearse did slide most of the way down – it was horrendous. But by hook or by crook the funeral head to go ahead.”
Syd’s daughter, Beverley Caterer, 54, said: “He really cared for all of us and made sure we got there. I just want to say thank you to him because he was amazing.”
Syd died on December 28 following a number of health problems. The former miner and labourer leaves two children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.