Vintage trucks lead funeral procession

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WARM tributes have been paid following the death of a haulage company chairman.

Derek Ellis, 79, suffered a heart attack and died on January 25. He was chairman of CS Ellis in Wireless Hill, South Luffenham, and lived at Fosters Bridge, between South Luffenham and Ketton.

His son Trevor and daughter Sue Ellis-Nixon described him as a family orientated and loving man.

Derek, who was born in Yarwell, completed national service before buying his own lorry. When he met and married Barbara Ellis in 1955, who was the daughter of CS Ellis founder Cecil Ellis, Derek joined the company.

Until his death, he took a keen interest in the activities of the company. Barbara died of leukaemia aged 76 in 2009.

When he was younger, Derek played cricket for Tolethorpe Cricket Club and played football for a team in Yarwell. He was also a keen electric organ player and also played for North Luffenham bowls team and Stamford indoor bowls team.

Derek’s funeral was held on Thursday last week. Derek’s coffin was carried to St John the Baptist Church in North Luffenham from the headquarters of the company on one of the vintage trucks he collected. He had built up a collection of about 12 over the last few years, all of which he had repainted in CS Ellis colours.

There was also a procession of three other lorries, which followed the coffin. The church was standing room only.

Trevor said: “I think dad would have loved the funeral. We decided to take four of the vintage trucks.

“Two of them he had never seen because one was away being repainted and the other he had only just bought and it arrived the day after he died. He used to take them to shows all over the country so I think he would have liked that.”

Sue said the village came to a standstill because of the number of people at the funeral. A travelling organ came from Holland, which was sponsored by CS Ellis during Oakham show, to play at the wake which was held at Trevor’s home in Morcott.

A collection at the funeral raised more than £1,000, which will be shared between St John the Baptist Church and Diabetes UK, a condition which Derek suffered from.

Trevor, 54, said: “He was honest, hard working and loved the family.

“He doted on his great-grandchildren Romilly and Darcy.

“He did a huge amount for charity as well but he always did things quietly without making a big fuss.

He was just an amazing man and he was my best friend.”

Sue, 51, who is married to David Ellis-Nixon, said: “Dad had got a brilliant sense of humour and was quite a joker. He was close to his friends as well as his family.”

Sue said Derek had established an impressive garden and pond, which was featured in Gardener’s World magazine.

She added: “He really loved his garden and I remember a few years ago about £32,000 of koi carp disappeared.

“Dad set up a night camera to find out what was happening and it was an otter eating them all!”

Derek also leaves grandchildren Charles Ellis and Hayley Cook and great-grandchildren Romilly Ellis, nine months, and Darcy Cook, four months.