Stunning send-off for polite Betsy

A horse-drawn carriage led the funeral procession
A horse-drawn carriage led the funeral procession

WICK came to a standstill to witness a spectacular funeral procession of a well-known Romany Gypsy who was ‘completely devoted to her family’.

Betsy Cooper, of Grand Avenue, Wick, died aged 75 at her home on October 2, surrounded by her loving family.

A lavish funeral was held on Monday (October 20) as a final send-off to the great-grandmother-of-five.

A stunning white horse- drawn carriage led the procession from Betsy’s home, through the centre of Wick and on to St Mary Magdalene Church, in Lyminster, where she is now buried.

The horses wore pink plumes on their heads, while transporting Mrs Cooper in a pink and white casket, decked in pink roses and peace lilies.

Superb floral tributes were made by friends and family, with one describing Betsy as ‘an angel sent to me in my darkest times who became my best friend’.

Betsy’s son George, 51, who lived with her, said: “My mother was devoted to her grandchildren and her sons.

“She loved people to come an visit her. She made everyone always feel welcome. She treated people how she would like to be treated she was always very polite and a real joy to be around.”

Betsy has five sons, Robert, Eli, George, Simon and Jamie. She also has 13 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, with another two great-grandchildren on the way.

As well as tending to her own family, she also cared for some 200 foster children during her life – some of whom travelled from London to pay their final respects.

George said the funeral procession, organised by Littlehampton funeral directors F. A. Holland & Son, in Terminus Road, couldn’t have gone any better.

“The sun was beaming down,” he said. “We thought it might rain but it didn’t.

“It was really nice. Everyone was stopping and taking photos on their iPads and phones, at the bus stops or by the shops.

“It looked like Wick came to a standstill to say goodbye to mum.”

The Rev Ronald Johnston led the funeral service, which George described as ‘incredible’.

He added that everyone could not fit into the church because so many well-wishers had come to pay their respects to Betsy.

Betsy’s sons released five white doves during the ceremony to pay tribute to their mother.

Betsy had lived in Wick for 26 years.

Previously, she lived at Oak Tree Cottages off Barnham Lane, in Walberton.

Before becoming a stay-at-home mother, Betsy used to work at Longhurst Farm in Lyminster.

She is buried in the same plot as her husband George, who died four years ago.

Her family wished to thank F. A. Holland & Sons and funeral director June Sutherland.