Horse-drawn hearse at cemetery fair

Words and photos by Dave Barry 

A handsome pair of horses pulling an old-fashioned hearse made an arresting sight as they cantered up Dean Road in Scarborough.

If it had been a real funeral, the mourners would have been kept waiting for over an hour.

A late departure and heavy traffic on the A64 delayed the horse-drawn hearse’s arrival at a fair organised by the Friends of Dean Road and Manor Road Cemetery.

It was part of the 24th annual heritage open days, England’s biggest festival of heritage and culture, taking place across two weekends for the first time.

The horse-drawn hearse was complemented by a modern one, containing a coffin draped with a Union flag. It belonged to one of two undertakers taking part in the fair, Bernards and the Co-op.

Among the hundreds who attended was the borough mayor, Cllr Joe Plant, who was beginning to detect a theme to his weekend. The previous night, he had ridden on a Honda Goldwing which was towing a coffin in the annual seafront parade (see page ???).

The fair was opened with a few gusty bellows of Oh ye, and a yelled announcement at the top of his voice, by the ornately whiskered town crier, David Birdsall.

Roger Burnett and Sheila Johnson of the Scarborough in Bloom group Muck ’n’ Magic wished they had taken more plants in their caravan as they sold the lot in no time.

A man cycled to the fair and donated the bike to one of the many stalls.

The cemetery’s war memorial was festooned with knitted and crocheted poppies which will form part of a dramatic display in Hackness during WW1 armistice centenary commemorations in November. A community tribute will be held in the village hall.

The dry-stone walls around the church and between the church and the hall are to be covered with fabric poppies, garlands and red bunting made with recycled pop bottles by Westborough guides. A memorial seat and the phonebox are to be similarly yarnbombed (a term coined by the organisers).