Mourners ignore lockdown to attend funeral of much-loved traveller gran, 63, to give her ‘send off like queen’

2 weeks ago 1

MOURNERS have ignored the new lockdown restrictions to attend a funeral for a much-loved gran from the traveller community.

Family and friends wanted to give Honor Francis, 63, a send-off "like a queen" and pay their final respects at the service in Stockton-on-Tees.

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Many mourners ignored the new national lockdown restrictions to attend the funeral

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Many mourners ignored the new national lockdown restrictions to attend the funeral Credit: BackGrid

Honor Francis was a much-loved member of the traveller community

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Honor Francis was a much-loved member of the traveller community Credit: BackGrid

Family and friends wanted to give Honor Francis a send-off 'like a queen'

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Family and friends wanted to give Honor Francis a send-off 'like a queen'Credit: BackGrid

Despite the fact that England entered into a second lockdown, mourners decided to go ahead with the funeral for the grandma who was "everybody's friend."

Following the service, Ms Francis' daughter, Claire Bousfield, 38, described how the pandemic would not stop her family from celebrating her mum's life. 

She told Teesside Live: "Covid can kiss my backend, I'm giving my mum the send-off she deserves.

"I want her to go out like the Queen. She was our queen.

"Everybody knew her - she was everybody's friend."

Her service was held on the first day of the new national lockdown - which means that there was a maximum capacity of 30 people allowed to attend.

During her life, Ms Francis, who was born in Leeds but later moved to Stockton when she was 13, held a number of roles including working as a care assistant.

'COVID CAN KISS MY BACK-END'

Her daughter Claire added that she was overwhelmed by the messages and tributes coming from the traveller community.

She said: "She would chat to anybody and would feed anybody.

"She used to love to bake and cook - she made fantastic scones and quiches and she loved cooking for the family.

"She also loved the Mecca Bingo and used to go with her friend Fiona.

"She loved a cigarette and a cup of coffee, and she loved a good old moan!

"She came from a big travelling family - the Francis' and the Lees and the Tyers."

Members of the community were asked to wear a "splash of colour" to the funeral because Ms Francis "loved all colours."

The Facebook post read: "Please note due to restrictions there is only 30 and a small plus allowed in the church but outside of the church there is no restrictions and we are putting speakers outside so you can all hear the service. 

"Wear your masks and keep your distance and then we are doing what we are meant to be.

"When my mam arrives at church please don't stand silent can you all clap for her?

Guidance for funerals during the second lockdown

The government's current guidance on funerals in England is that up to 30 people are allowed to gather for services outdoors.

Places of worship will be closed, but will be allowed to hold funerals.

During the gathering, you must remain socially distant from anyone that is not a part of your household or support bubble.

Meanwhile, funerals being held inside must allow for people from different households to socially distance, with a maximum of 30 people.

Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance.

Anyone working is not included in the numbers.

"She would love that. Hope to see you soon."

Yesterday was the first day of the second lockdown in England - which is set to last four weeks.

Funerals are allowed to go ahead during the lockdown, but there is a limit of 30 people allowed to attend the service.

Anyone working, like a religious leader, is not included in this number.

People attending services are also asked to stay at least 2 metres away from others outside of their own household.

This comes as the coronavirus death toll rose by 378 yesterday, while cases grew by 24,242.

New restrictions were introduced across the country after the Prime Minister was warned of thousands of deaths a day by mid-December, although today's figures show the second wave appearing to flatten out.

The PM has ordered the country to "stay at home" for four weeks in a fresh effort to "protect the NHS and save lives".

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Brits are only allowed to leave home for school, work, medical reasons, exercise, shopping or providing care to the vulnerable.

Pubs and restaurants have closed, but are allowed to continue doing takeaways and deliveries.

Tributes were laid for the much-loved gran in the traveller community

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Tributes were laid for the much-loved gran in the traveller communityCredit: BackGrid

Her service was held on the first day of the new national lockdown

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Her service was held on the first day of the new national lockdownCredit: BackGrid

Members of the community were asked to wear a 'splash of colour' to the funeral

8

Members of the community were asked to wear a 'splash of colour' to the funeralCredit: BackGrid

Only 30 people are allowed to attend funerals during the lockdown

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Only 30 people are allowed to attend funerals during the lockdownCredit: BackGrid

Mourners ignored the new guidelines in Stockton-on-Tees

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Mourners ignored the new guidelines in Stockton-on-TeesCredit: BackGrid
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