Three-wheeled hearse a perfect and poignant send-off

The hearse for Ronnie Peet's funeral
The hearse for Ronnie Peet's funeral

A motor-mad Wiganer received the perfect send-off from his family as he made his final journey in a car similar to one that was his pride and joy.

Ronnie Peet, from Bryn, travelled to his funeral in a specially-adapted Reliant Robin as he had become well known in the area for owning the three-wheeled vehicles over decades.

Ronnie Peet's family

Ronnie Peet's family

Provided by Only Fools and Hearses, the vehicle towing the coffin was even painted bright yellow and bore the sign Trotter’s Independent Traders as a tribute to Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses, TV’s most famous Reliant driver.

It made a fitting last tribute to 78-year-old Ronnie as he always watched the sitcom due to its use of the distinctive vehicle and was even known as Del Boy in the area as he drove a gold Robin for years.

The unusual hearse also triggered many happy memories for Downall Green Road resident Ronnie’s family, who said he was always happy in a garage or outside working on his beloved cars or motorbikes.

His daughter Ann Hughes, 53, said: “It was actually my son Chris’s idea.

He watched Only Fools and Horses because Del Boy drove a Reliant and some people would call him Del Boy when he was out and about driving in it.

Ann Hughes

“We had all got back from the hospital after my dad died and he just suggested it.

“We didn’t make our minds up until the last minute but then we just decided to go for it.

“You couldn’t buy my dad anything while he was alive so we thought this was one last thing we could do for him.

“He loved his car, his pastime was tinkering with engines.

Ronnie Peet with his Reliant Robin

Ronnie Peet with his Reliant Robin

“If he saw a three-wheeler on holiday he would have to have his photograph taken with it.

“He watched Only Fools and Horses because Del Boy drove a Reliant and some people would call him Del Boy when he was out and about driving in it.

“Chris often went out with my dad in it and helped him clean it. He used to offer me a lift to work but sometimes I would get him to drop me off nearby because I was a bit embarrassed!

“We didn’t tell anybody about the hearse until it came to the front door.

“Everyone we’ve spoken to said it couldn’t have been more fitting for him.

“Although it was a sad day it sent him off in style and brought some good memories back.”

The car made a strong impression at his funeral at Park Lane Chapel in Landgate on Friday May 12, with the unusual cortege drawing plenty of attention from passers-by as it made its way to church for the service.

Ronnie originally bought a Reliant because he was already a keen biker and he could drive the car on a motorbike licence.

He first owned a beige one before getting the yellow car which made him well known in Bryn, frequently swapping tips, spare parts and advice with his best friend Roland Sharratt who had a blue three-wheeler.

He finally had to part with the car around 10 years ago due to the amount of work that needed doing on it, but his family said it was a wrench for him to move from three to four wheels.

He was married to wife Helen, 72, for more than a half a century, with the couple meeting through his passion for motorbikes.

They lived in the same house on Downall Green Road throughout their marriage, with Ronnie enjoying a quiet life made up of work for the water authority and on local farms as well as evenings socialising in his local

club.

He died on April 28 a couple of days after being admitted to hospital, after battling illness for around six

years.

Formed in Fleetwood, Only Fools and Hearses has attracted plenty of attention both from mourners and from the media for its vehicles aimed at fans of the sitcom.