Search

Romford Pictures: Fond farewell for former coachman, who travels on final journey with shire horse team

12:00 01 February 2014

Coachman David Lawless with the Shire horses

Coachman David Lawless with the Shire horses

Archant

A former Lord Mayor of London coachman was given a fitting farewell at his funeral on Tuesday, with a six-strong team of shire horses pulling his traditional hearse.

The horse drawn carriage arrives at the cemetryThe horse drawn carriage arrives at the cemetry

The life of much-loved John Lawless, 67, was marked by 200 relatives and friends at the South Essex Crematorium, where his hearse was taken by horses Comet, Harvey, Boy, Edward, Henry and William, after setting out from the Harwood Hall Livery Stables.

The Hornchurch man, who was the official coachman for 22 years, had a special connection with the animals as they draw the Lord Mayor’s coach every November.

John’s son David, 37, has now taken up the reins and drove the hearse to the funeral himself.

He said: “I was very pleased that we fulfilled his wishes for the funeral by having the six magnificent shires that he wanted. It was a fitting farewell.”

The late John Lawless driving the Lord Mayor of London's coach in his role as official coachmanThe late John Lawless driving the Lord Mayor of London's coach in his role as official coachman

John was just 25 when he first drove the Lord Mayor’s coach in 1971 – which made him the youngest person to do so.

His two decades of service meant he became the longest-serving coachman.

John was also the head horseman at the Whitbread and Co Brewery, London, for 25 years.

David, who lives in Cambridgeshire with his wife Elspeth and sons Ben, seven, and Toby, six, added: “I am proud to be following in his footsteps.”

Coachman David Lawless with the Shire horses at the crematoriumCoachman David Lawless with the Shire horses at the crematorium

Elspeth, 47, met David through knowing John from the horse circuit. She knew John for about 30 years.

She said: “He was very cheerful. If he was in a room he was the life and soul of the party, which was shown by how many people were there at the funeral.”

As well as David and his grandchildren, John leaves behind a widow Vivien and daughter Sarah.

0 comments

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 15:00
Sue Triggs, Russell Triggs and Amber Triggs, nine who has cerebal palsy and Kelly McCleoud, Rob McCleoud, Molly-May McCleoud, eight and Max McCleoud, five who are organising fundraisers in Barking and Dagenham to raise money for an operation for Amber

Friends and family of a nine-year-old with cerebral palsy are on a mission to raise £30,000 for an operation that could enable her to walk.

Yesterday, 12:00
Picture: ThinkstockPhotos-164922920.jpg / Carlos Gomez Bové

A “proactive” stance in encouraging male domestic abuse victims to come forward is not being taken by Havering Council, according to the chairman of a charity.

Yesterday, 10:00
Britannia Parking anti-social issues

Shocking images showing children hanging from the third storey of a town centre car park have provoked a safety investigation.

Saturday, April 30, 2016
Bernard Thomas, holding the plant judged as the best succulent, with treasurer Janice Coombes, Adrian Finney and Bill Izatt

Interested in growing succulent plants? The Havering British Cactus and Succulent Society is on the lookout for new members.

Saturday, April 30, 2016
Level 42 fan Julian Hall with some of his memorabilia collection

When Julian Hall spotted an advertisement for at-the-time unknown band Level 42 in the Ilford Recorder in 1981, he decided to go to the gig on a whim.

Saturday, April 30, 2016
A TfL Rail train. Picture: Hammersfan/Wikimedia Commons

TfL Rail trains from Shenfield to Ilford over the Bank Holiday weekend will be replaced by buses due to engineering works.

Friday, April 29, 2016
Drapers' Academy hosted a debate on the EU so its students can be informed ahead of the referendum

Harold Hill students got the chance to grill the borough’s politicians in a fiery and passionate debate today about the EU referendum.

Friday, April 29, 2016
Members of the Havering Quilters made dresses for girls in third world countries out of pillowcases. Photo: Susan Persaud

Members of a sewing club have turned pillowcases into pretty decorated dresses for young girls living in third world countries.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

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

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe