Hundreds say farewell to former Eddie Stobart owner

By Adam Flett
BBC News, in Carlisle

Image caption,
One of the many floral tributes in memory of Edward Stobart outside Carlisle cathedral

Mourners gathered in warm sunshine to say farewell to Edward Stobart, the man behind the iconic haulage firm.

A maroon hearse followed by several black vehicles arrived ahead of the service, which started at 1100 BST.

Inside family, friends and colleagues gathered. Outside about 200 people watched proceedings on a large television screen, in bright sunshine.

The six coffin bearers included Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of the Stobart Group and Edward Stobart's nephew Edd.

Books of condolence were available for people to record their comments.

Whilst waiting for the service to begin onlooker David Thompson, from Penrith, said: "The trucking industry has lost a star."

During the eulogy, Reverend Illtyd Barrie Thomas said: "Almost single-handedly he changed the industry."

A number of floral tributes had been left near the cathedral gates. One, in the shape of a football, was from the directors at Carlisle United Football Club.

Image caption,
About 200 people watched the service on a big television screen outside the cathedral

Just before noon Edward Stobart's coffin emerged back into the sunshine and was placed alongside a floral tribute in the back of the hearse that simply read 'Dad'.

The fleet of vehicles then moved to the edge of the cathedral grounds where it was joined by three Stobart trucks.

One of the trucks was driven by Carlisle-based driver Billy Dowell. He had worked alongside Edward Stobart for nearly 30 years.

The procession moved away from the cathedral to the sounds of Status Quo, for a private burial.

Mr Stobart built up the Eddie Stobart lorry empire and ran it for more than 30 years. He died on 31 March 2011, aged 56.

Donations, in Mr Stobart's memory, are being given to the British Heart Foundation.

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