Funeral horse pulling hearse dies mid-procession in Hornchurch

10:40 28 August 2014

A stock image of a funeral horse. Picture: Dave Thompson/PA images

A stock image of a funeral horse. Picture: Dave Thompson/PA images

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A grieving family were further distressed when a horse pulling a relative’s hearse dropped dead mid-procession.

Police and a fire crew were called at around 1.40pm yesterday to Hornchurch Road, Hornchurch, following reports that the animal had fallen sick.

The firefighters from Hornchurch station left shortly later after realising they could not save the horse and officers called the RSPCA for assistance.

The road was closed for nearly two hours while the organisers, Harold Wood Funeral Services, of Chippenham Road, Harold Hill, arranged for the horse to be taken away.

Andy White, 46, from Dorset, said: “It was horrible. It was my wife’s grandad’s funeral and it upset us all.”

The procession continued by car and despite the incident, Mr White described the company as “fantastic”.

Ronnie, the deceased horse, was a middle-aged white carriage horse and was believed to be in good health, funeral director Carol Lawrence told the Recorder.

She said: “We are extremely sad to report the sudden death of Ronnie, a 14-year-old horse in service on the funeral in our care [on Wednesday].

“There was no indication of any poor health and he was regularly seen by vets.”

The director assured that there was no delay and the coffin was transferred from the horse-drawn cart and put in to a regular hearse that was part of the procession.

She added: “The bereaved family are very sympathetic and we have been in touch with them.”

Ronnie is receiving a private burial today in a field in the Essex countryside in the stables he lived in.

Eddie Baptste, 29, of Arisdale Avenue, South Ockendon, witnessed the horse’s collapse.

He said: “It’s always upsetting going to a funeral but when the horse falls dead it’s even more so.”

Did you see the incident? Contact Sam on 0208 477 3892 or

Read more:

House fire started by a squirrel disrupts funeral procession through Romford

‘Appalling and cowardly’: Injured horse left for dead in Upminster country lane

Abandoned horses found in Stapleford Abbotts


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

19 minutes ago
Dead koi at a farm in Collier Row. Picture Crown copyright.

An outbreak of fish herpes has been confirmed in Collier Row.

Police is appealing for anyone with information to call 101

A 59-year-old maintenance engineer has been left traumatised after being randomly beaten up in his van by two men.

Rosewood Medical Centre, Astra Close, Hornchurch. Picture: Google Maps.

Thousands of patients registered with a doctor’s practice will be automatically transferred to a different surgery following the retirement of a GP.


A proposal to install an ice rink in market place over the Christmas period is due to be considered by a council committee tonight (Thursday).

Yesterday, 16:46

A 1940s tea party was organised to raise awareness about dementia.

Yesterday, 16:20

A former coroner for Havering has been suspended and an investigation into his conduct launched after families complained of waiting more than a year for death certificates.

Yesterday, 15:30
Residents have expressed their concerns for the pilot police scheme which would see the borough's force merge with Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge.

Residents have expressed their concerns at a new pilot scheme which would see Havering Police merging with other forces.

Yesterday, 14:38
There is queuing traffic on the A13 after a crash between two cars and a van.

There is queuing traffic on the A13 after a crash between two cars and a van.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now