A send-off to remember

The funeral of keen horse racing fan Stuart Abey from Fleetwood.  Pictured is son Darren Abey.
The funeral of keen horse racing fan Stuart Abey from Fleetwood. Pictured is son Darren Abey.

A former Fleetwood fish merchant was given a send-off to remember by his devoted son.

Stuart Abey, who died last month aged 76, was driven to Carleton Crematorium in a bespoke funeral hearse specially created by his son Darren.

Darren, 48, of Oxford Road, Fleetwood, spent £18,000 in creating a unique funeral vehicle which paid tribute to his dad’s love of horse-racing.

Stuart’s body was carried in a coffin which was vinyl-wrapped in a colourful horse race scene, inside a glass and wood-panelled hearse cabinet, on top of a flat-back truck featuring artificial racing turf.

The funeral cortege was a bit special too, including a bagpipe player, two 1950s silver limousines and Darren’s own Delboy Trotter three-wheeler.

Darren, who runs a motorcycle transit company and an alternative Delboy-themed funeral business, Only Fools and Hearses, said: “I didn’t originally intend the hearse to be for my dad, I was making it for a new sideline of mine, sports-themed funerals.

“Dad wanted to see it finished before he died, but sadly he never made it. So I was determined he would be the first one to go off in it. I had a real push to finish it on time, but we made it. My dad was a one-off. He always did things his own way and I wanted to send him off in style. Today is all about celebrating his life.”

Stuart used to run S Abey Fish Merchants, based on the docks, which ran in conjunction with two small fishing boats. But his real love was horse racing, so Darren had the coffin made.

At the funeral service, Stuart’s coffin entered the crematorium not to music, but a recording of commentary from Grand National race course at Aintree.

One of Stuart’s old pals from his fish merchant days, Tom “Bluey” Shawcross, of Rede Avenue, Fleetwood, said: “When we were young we used to be in a gang called the Barons, and we would go out drinking together. Stuart was a real character and Darren has really done him proud today.”