Friday 28 April 2017

Mourners gather for funeral of 'King of Travellers' Simon Doherty - Father of Big Fat Gypsy Wedding's Paddy

  • More than a dozen silver Rolls Royces
  • Tricolour emblazoned coffin carried remains
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty (centre), with his brothers Qe (front) and Johnny (right) on a horse drawn hearse carrying the coffin of their father Simon Doherty along Harrow Road, en route to St Margaret's Catholic Cemetery, London, to be buried after his funeral. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty (centre), with his brothers Qe (front) and Johnny (right) on a horse drawn hearse carrying the coffin of their father Simon Doherty along Harrow Road, en route to St Margaret's Catholic Cemetery, London, to be buried after his funeral. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
A young boy reaches out to a tribute to Simon Doherty, father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty, at St Margaret's Catholic Cemetery, London, ahead of his burial. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty (centre), with his brothers Qe (front) and Johnny (right) on a horse drawn hearse carrying the coffin of their father Simon Doherty along Harrow Road, en route to St Margaret's Catholic Cemetery, London, to be buried after his funeral.Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty gives a thumbs up on a horse drawn hearse carrying the coffin of his father Simon Doherty along Harrow Road, en route to St Margaret's Catholic Cemetery, London, to be buried after his funeral. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty during the burial of his father Simon Doherty at St Margaret's Catholic Cemetery, London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty during the burial of his father Simon Doherty at St Margaret's Catholic Cemetery, London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Mourners outside St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey, ahead of the funeral of Simon Doherty, the father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
A fleet of Rolls Royce cars outside St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey, ahead of the funeral of Simon Doherty, the father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
A floral tribute to Simon Doherty, father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty, during his funeral service at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
The coffin of Simon Doherty, father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty, during his funeral service at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey.Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Roisin Mullins paying tribute to Simon Doherty, the father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty, during his funeral at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Mourners touch the coffin of Simon Doherty, father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty, during his funeral service at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey.Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty rests his hand on the coffin of his father Simon Doherty during his funeral service at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
A fleet of Rolls Royce cars outside St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey, ahead of the funeral of Simon Doherty, the father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty.Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Canon Anthony Churchill giving the service during the funeral of Simon Doherty, father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty, at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Funeral director Paul Brown (right) with My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty outside St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey, ahead of the funeral of Mr Doherty's father Simon.Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Mourners outside St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey, ahead of the funeral of Simon Doherty, the father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty.Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty rests his hand on the coffin of his father Simon Doherty during his funeral service at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Rachael Burnett

Travellers from across the UK and Ireland came together for the funeral of TV personality Paddy Doherty's father.

Hundreds of mourners joined the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Big Brother star to say goodbye to Simon Doherty, remembered as the "father of all travellers".

Friends and family attended a service at St Michael's Church in Ashtead, Surrey in the UK on Monday.

More than a dozen silver Rolls Royces, each bearing the Irish tricolour, lined up outside the church.

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty rests his hand on the coffin of his father Simon Doherty during his funeral service at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty rests his hand on the coffin of his father Simon Doherty during his funeral service at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Mr Doherty's coffin was emblazoned with the colours of the Irish flag and the message: "Simon Doherty - Blacksmith, King of all Doherty's".

"He was like mafia in his own way, not in a bad way - any trouble they would go to him," the 58-year-old former bare knuckle fighter said.

"He was like the godfather - what he said was law.

"He said I want no one crying at my funeral, I want them happy, singing and get them drunk."

He sat with his hand resting on his father's coffin throughout the service and tributes, which included video footage of Mr Doherty in a horse race and a group of Irish dancers.

"He wasn't an average man - he was outstanding, a great man," he added.

"Everything had to be five stars for him, he lived the best and was the best.

"My poor mother - her heart is devastated, her heart is broken.

Irish dancers performing at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey, during the funeral of Simon Doherty, the father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty.Photo: Yui Mok/PA WireWire
Irish dancers performing at St Michael's Catholic Church in Ashtead, Surrey, during the funeral of Simon Doherty, the father of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty.Photo: Yui Mok/PA WireWire

"I'm so grateful how many people have turned out - we just want everything to go well, everything has to be tremendous and over the top."

Close family members wore red ties, Mr Doherty's favourite colour, which they threw into his grave at St Mary's Catholic Cemetery at Kensal Green, north London.

The coffin was driven to the cemetery in a horse and carriage and carried up a red carpet to the sound of bagpipes.

Floral tributes were laid at the grave in the shape of an Irish shamrock, horseshoes, bottles of whisky, pint of Guinness and a Rolls Royce.

A bunch of green shamrock balloons and six white doves were released into the air as laments were sung at the graveside.

Mr Doherty, known as Simey, had 15 children and more than 150 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The great-grandfather, who was in his 80s, died in hospital in Epsom last week surrounded by his family after battling an ongoing illness.

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