Builders' merchant lays on 'honour guard' for regular customer's final journey

One of Leyland's best known companies has been showered with praise for giving a respected customer his very own '˜last lap'.

Simon Briggs
Simon Briggs

Builders merchants C&W Berry’s allowed the hearse carrying the coffin of regular customer Simon Briggs to pass around the firm’s yard on its way to Charnock Richard crematorium.

Despite the last minute request from Mr Briggs’ family, Berry’s – based on Golden Hill Lane – were only too happy to oblige.

Management and staff even stood in tribute as the vehicle went past.

Simon Briggs

Simon, 49, who was found dead at his home on Golden Hill Lane, owned his own business SJS Interiors in Leyland.

He was in a relationship with his partner Catherine Ferguson.

His sister Joanne Stevenson , 47, who lives off Croston Road, Farington Moss, said: “He was a Leyland lad.

“He’s had his own business since his early twenties. He was hard worker and loved his business.”

After Simon’s best friend Craig Walton came up with the Berry’s drive-past idea, Joanne contacted the firm to ask if it was possible – and bosses were only too happy to oblige.

“I’ve sent them a thank you card,” said Joanne, who is a hospital safety officer at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

“I can’t put into words how grateful we are and how touching it was to do that and to do it so quickly.”

The gesture from the long-established family firm touched scores of folk on social media after Joanne posted a thank you message to the company.

Joanne wrote on the Leyland Memories Facebook page: “So proud of C&W Berrys standing on ceremony for my lovely brother Simon.

“Much respect for this company many thanks to manager Martin who I only asked at 8.30am that day my brother was able to have his last lap around the yard where he spent many times there being a big customer emotional”.

Joanne’s daughter Danielle videoed the occasion from one of the vehicles.

Viewers described Berry’s as “class” and said how “brilliant” and how it showed so much “respect”.

Kathryn Crichton commented: “That really touched me. My Dad was also a big well known customer at Berry’s and he died a good few years ago I never would of thought of this. You’ve done him proud.”

Elaine Pressley said: “Well done to Berrys. Great support for a local lad, and also for letting so many staff pay their final respects. Very emotional. Well done.”

James Davis said: “Wonderful tribute from everyone involved very moving and very proud to see typical Leyland Folk as usual.”