Hundreds of brightly dressed mourners attend service for ‘perfect couple’ killed in hit and run
HUNDREDS of people have attended a joint funeral held for a "perfect couple" killed in an alleged hit-and-run as they rode a tandem.
Ross and Clare Simons, who were described by friends as "two peas in a pod", were hoping to start a family and had just been given the go-ahead to begin IVF treatment.
Less than 24 hours after celebrating the news, Mr Simons, 34, and his 30-year-old wife died when their bicycle was hit by a Citroen Picasso car, in Hanham near Bristol, on January 27.
The two coffins, adorned with white flowers, were laid side by side in a hearse as it entered Westerleigh Crematorium, in South Gloucestershire.
Family and friends, who were asked to wear bright colours to reflect the couple's characters, fell silent as they caught sight of the hearse.
Family members hugged each other in support as they wiped tears from their cheeks, following the wooden coffins into the crematorium.
They had asked those who attended the funeral not to bring flowers but to donate money to a Bristol IVF charity in the hope that it will give another couple the chance of having a child.
In a statement they said: "Both families are sure this is what Ross and Clare would have wanted. Also, could anyone who attends make sure they wear bright colours, and no black.
"This is because Ross and Clare were both colourful and bright people.
"Ross and Clare have left a huge hole in the lives of everyone who knew them."
During the service there were several readings and tributes to the couple who - as stated on the order of service - lived by the words Love, Laugh, Live.
Their wedding song - Heaven, by DJ Sammy - was played along with Endless Love, which the family said gave people a time to reflect on Mr and Mrs Simons' love for each other.
At the end of the service the families and other mourners scattered white rose petals over the coffins.
Reverend Peter Cook, who led the service, said: "At the end the coffins were completely snowdrift in white rose petals which was just a very beautiful thing.
"Ross and Clare were loved so much and I think it was a very beautiful service with people able to express that love for the couple.
"There were lots of stories told about Ross and Clare, they were a couple who lived life to the full.
"Ross loved wakeboarding and things, and there were stories of Clare collecting worms as a child. It was great, just that sense of their love of life."
He added that the two families were dealing with their grief in different ways but had conducted themselves with dignity throughout.
"The family are very different and they are coping in different ways," he said.
"Some are coping better than others, but it is one of those things, whoever they are, just taking one day at a time and struggle through what that day brings."
The alleged hit and run on January 27 left the local community in shock.
The couple, who lived in Hillfields, Fishponds, had bought their tandem bike shortly before Christmas because it was something they had always wanted.
Mr and Mrs Simons had been married for about 18 months and had been together since they met in 2001.
Mr Simons worked for his father's property rental company, and Mrs Simons, who worked for a fashion store in the shopping centre Cabot Circus, in Bristol.
After the 400 mourners left for a private gathering, floral tributes were laid outside the crematorium.
Next to the white flowers, arranged in the couple's names, there were messages of love and a teddy bear.
Speaking two days after their deaths, Ross's sister Kelly Woodruff said: "They were special people who had special qualities. They were the perfect couple.
"They loved each other unconditionally, they were absolutely made for each other."
Nicholas Lovell, 38, of Oldland Common, has been charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and failing to stop at an accident.
Following a hearing at North Avon Magistrates' Court, he was remanded into custody to appear before Bristol Crown Court later this month.