Sheffield lorry driver given send-off with a difference – on his beloved flatbed truck
A much-loved Sheffield lorry driver went out in style, as his coffin was strapped to the back of his lovingly-restored truck.
This was the head-turning sight as Jeffrey Hall’s body was transported to City Road Crematorium for his funeral on Tuesday, where scores of mourners gathered to pay their last respects.
It was a fitting send-off for a man who had loved tinkering with cars and motorbikes from a young age and ran his own recovery firm using the lorry for many years.
Jeffrey's daughter, Amanda Middleton, said: “We’d never seen anything like it. There wasn't a dry eye in sight when it arrived.
“His old lorry, which he loved, looked amazing. It was a great comfort to us and ensured Dad’s final journey to his place of rest was a memorable one.”
When Jeffrey retired, he had sold the classic lorry to his good friend Nigel Gyte, who shares his love for vintage vehicles.
After his death, Nigel had the truck resprayed, got Jeffrey’s dates of 1948-2019 emblazoned on the bonnet and created a special stand for the coffin, with the message ‘one last load’.
The lorry – which was driven to the cemetery by Jeffrey’s friend Pete Balos – now resides alongside the other classic motors and steam engines in Nigel’s extensive private collection, which Jeffrey's family have been told they can visit whenever they wish.
Nigel said: “Jeffrey would have been overjoyed to see his old lorry looking probably the best it’s ever looked. I wouldn’t do that for everyone but he definitely deserved it. He was the salt of the earth and a true gentleman.”
Jeffrey died aged 70 on February 12, after losing his long-battle with lung cancer, with which he was first diagnosed eight years ago.
He thought he had beaten the disease after having a lung removed, but when it returned in January last year he was told there was nothing that could be done.
Not wanting people to feel sorry for him, the animal lover, whose hobbies included golf and fishing, had hidden the condition from friends and family until the end.
Jeffrey grew up in Wybourn – which is where he met his wife Susan, with whom he had one daughter – and later moved to Beighton.
After a brief spell at a metal works, he went into business himself as a mechanic, car trader and spray painter before launching the recovery firm he would run until his retirement.
He and Susan took many holidays to Barbados, and he asked for some of his ashes to be scattered on the beach at Bathsheba where they enjoyed some of their happiest times together
Amanda said: “Dad was a really lovely man, who had a great sense of humour and would do anything for anybody.
“He was so popular that when he went to walk the dog it took ages because he stopped to talk to so many friends.”
Jeffrey’s wake was held at his favourite pub, The Fox Inn, which he jokingly referred to as ‘the office’.
He asked for donations instead of flowers, with £640 being raised for St Luke’s Hospice and Thornberry Animal Sanctuary.