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Truck fan Joe arrives to funeral on the back of a lorry

By West Briton  |  Posted: July 05, 2013

  • The lorry bearing the coffin of Joseph Letcher that was draped with the Cornish flag, arrives at the Treswithian Crematorium. for Craig. Ref : TRGH20130626B-010_C

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A "TRUE Cornishman" who had a love of vintage buses and trucks has been laid to rest in style.

Treswithian Downs Crematorium was packed for the funeral of Joseph Letcher, who died aged 80.

Draped in a Cornish flag, the former Redruth postman and mine worker's coffin arrived at the service on the back of a 30-tonne articulated lorry tractor unit, with friends and family following in a Bedford van.

"He always had a love for Bedford buses and old cars and lorries," said his granddaughter, Caroline Colwill. "He had a conservatory full of vintage car and bus models at his home, so we didn't want hearses or funeral cars – we wanted to send him off in style."


The truck cab, decorated with iconic Cornish images, was owned by close friend and haulage company owner Neil Hart, who had built a mechanism to carry the coffin specially for the funeral.

"He used to spend loads of time with Neil; he was crazy about trucks," said Ms Colwill. "Hopefully he would have been proud; that's what he would have wanted."

Mr Letcher was born in Illogan Downs.

He married a Welsh woman, Peggy, who quickly adapted to Cornish life and traditions.

"My gran would make up to 13 pasties every Wednesday," said Ms Colwill.

"That's why we had the funeral on a Wednesday, because that's what he called pasty day. My grandad was a true Cornishman."

Mr Letcher was well known locally through his job as a Redruth postman, delivering to Illogan and Carharrack from 1973 until he retired in 1996.

After the funeral service, which ended with the song Camborne Hill, family and friends celebrated his life at Heathcoat Social Club with yeast cake, saffron cake and pasties.

On his birthday in September, his family will scatter his ashes on Carn Brea.

Ms Colwill added: "My gran would like to say a big thank-you to everybody who attended the funeral.

"We as a family appreciate that for many it wasn't a traditional send-off, but it was something we wanted to do. Also, a huge thank-you to Neil Hart, who promised my Grandad one last ride on his lorry."

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