Funeral for Jack Hilding attended by hundreds in Staplehurst
The funeral procession
It was more than a funeral – it was a grieving family’s way
of handing dignity back to their beloved son.
That was the message from the father of Jack Hilding, as
Staplehurst came to a standstill to honour his 23-year-old son,
also called Jack.
Roads were closed, shops shut and even the health centre closed
as mourners followed the hearse to a packed-out All Saints Church,
for what Jack senior called a “beautiful service”.
Impressive floral tributes honoured his memory, as did a video
slide show prepared by Jack’s sister, Shannon, who spoke together
with brother Tommy in his memory – and the church bells tolled 23
times to mark the young age of the father of one.
Floral tributes to Jack
Hilding at his funeral in Staplehurst High Street
Jack, who is part of a traveller family, went missing in
He was found dead three months later in a field near an
electricity sub-station in Biddenden. It is thought he had been
electrocuted and had died some time before he was found.
“Due to the nature of his death his dignity was taken away,”
said Jack senior. “I designed the funeral beautifully to pay
tribute and honour my son, and to give him his dignity back.
“Every detail that you see there represents our love for
A special order of service, designed by Jack senior’s wife,
Lucy, showed a “stairway to heaven” with Jack pictured at the top,
and was decorated with angels.
“It looked absolutely beautiful,” said Jack senior. “There
wasn’t one left in the church.
“A lot of people said they’ve attended many a funeral but never
seen anything like that.”
Notices were put up around Staplehurst to give prior warning of
the funeral, he added.
“Everyone played a role right down to the community of
Staplehurst – and the police played their part, too,” he said.
“They came out of shops and people lined the streets.
“It was good to see and it was a great comfort to us.”
He also thanked the Rev Silke Tetzlaff and Doves Funeral
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