Mourners in tribute to travelling man

The funeral of Tom Price at Holy Family RC Church in Platt Bridge
The funeral of Tom Price at Holy Family RC Church in Platt Bridge

HUNDREDS of mourners from all over the country descended on Wigan to pay their respects to a well-known member of the traveller community.

Tom Price was a member of a long-established family which has been based on Wigan Council’s designated travellers’ site in Bickershaw for many years.

And he was so highly regarded that the priest, who had carried out many church services for the family over the years, even came out of retirement to conduct the funeral service.

Father Anthony Mangnall, who is the current priest at Holy Family Church in Platt Bridge, said: “The family of Mr Price asked for Father Philip Barrett to conduct the funeral service as he has been the family’s priest for many years.

“He retired about 12 years ago but occasionally carries out services in exceptional circumstances and ever since he retired he has still kept in close contact with the family.”

Mr Price used to be a bare knuckle boxer and his family commissioned a picture of the much-loved man during his boxing days to be made out of flowers.

Frank Carruthers, of Springview Flowers, who is a family friend, was given the commission for that and all the other stunning floral tributes for Mr Price’s funeral.

And he admitted that he and his staff were working practically round the clock for several days to complete all the flowers in time.

He said: “I have been the Price’s family florist for many years and do all their weddings, christenings and funerals and over the years I have got to know them very well.

“We worked for two full days to get all the floral tributes to Mr Price ready and we’re really pleased with how everything turned out.

“They are an absolutely lovely family and are 100 per cent genuine, we send them our deepest condolences at this difficult time.”

The Price family has been based in Wigan for many years and are well regarded within the local community and beyond.

Members of the travelling community came together from across the country, as did members of the Wigan public, for the funeral which saw roads in Platt Bridge and the surrounding area brought to a standstill.

Hundreds of travelling men walked through the streets as part of the funeral cortege and female members of the community followed in cars.

Mr Price’s casket was carried to the church in a horse-drawn silver carriage.

Following the church service the funeral cortege then went on to Westwood Cemetery in Ince where Mr Price was laid to rest.