"THE MEMORY OF JESUS IS BOTH SACRED AND SUBVERSIVE"
Wednesday, 19 April 2017
‘Father of Travellers’ mourned as TV star’s dad laid to rest
TRAVELLERS from across Ireland and the UK came together for the funeral of TV personality Paddy Doherty’s father.
Hundreds of mourners joined the ‘Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ and ‘Big Brother’ star to say goodbye to Simon Doherty, remembered as the “father of all Travellers”.
Friends and family attended a service at St Michael’s Church in Ashtead, Surrey, in the UK yesterday. More than a dozen silver Rolls Royces, each bearing the tricolour, lined up outside the church.
Mr Doherty’s coffin was emblazoned with the colours of the Irish flag and the message: “Simon Doherty – Blacksmith, King of all Doherty’s [sic].”
“He was like mafia in his own way, not in a bad way – any trouble they would go to him,” his son Paddy (58) said.
“He was like the godfather – what he said was law. He said I want no one crying at my funeral, I want them happy, singing and get them drunk.”
He sat with his hand resting on his father’s coffin throughout the service and tributes, which included a group of Irish dancers.
“He wasn’t an average man – he was outstanding, a great man,” he added.
“My poor mother – her heart is devastated, her heart is broken. I’m so grateful how many people have turned out.”
Family members wore red ties, Mr Doherty’s favourite colour, which they threw into his grave at St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in north London. Floral tributes were laid at the grave in the shape of a shamrock, bottles of whisky, a pint of Guinness and a Rolls Royce.
Mr Doherty, who was in his 80s and known as Simey, and had 15 children and more than 150 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, died in hospital in Epsom last week.
The Travellers know how to splash out in a wedding or a funeral.
I celebrate a few Traveller weddings a month. Some are simple and some are pull the stops out occasions.
When I was a child in the Republic the Traellers were called "tinkers" as they were the ones who mended out pots and pans.
I am all for Travellers rights as an ethnic community BUT rights come with responsibilities - paying tax, obeying the law etc.