Published: 00:01, 15 September 2018
Two funeral directors dressed as Batman and Robin led an Only Fools and Horses-inspired funeral procession along the seafront to remember a real-life Del Boy.
Market trader Peter Wolstenholme died on Sunday, August 26, at the St Helena’s Hospice in Colchester after a ten-year battle with prostate cancer.
The 67 year old had three grandchildren and three children – two of whom, Scott and Amy, decided to organise a unique funeral for their father.
“We wanted to remember our dad how he would have wanted,” said Scott.
“It was a long, hard battle for him – and that’s why we’re celebrating. It was tough for the family to watch him go from who we remembered him to be to who he became because of that evil disease.
“He had all the pitter patter of Del Boy. He had the mentality ‘this time next year we’ll be millionaires’. My dad would think there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be a party.”
Peter, who was originally from London, would regularly visit Herne Bay to spend time with his son.
As a result, he became infatuated with the seaside town and “never wanted to leave”.
He spent much of his working life buying and selling items he thought he could make a profit on from markets, boot sales and warehouses.
“The family would say he’s a bit of a Del Boy because you’d never know what he’d come home with,” Scott explained.
“He would sell anything and everything. I remember once he got a load of energy-saving light bulbs and so we had boxes stacked around the house.
“He was an absolute diamond, was a gentle giant and if he could make a pound on the way, the more the better.”
Peter was also an avid fan of the classic British sitcom and made his way through the box set on his deathbed.
“He loved Only Fools,” Scott added.
“One of the last things he was watching in the hospice was the series box set. He got to the end of all the episodes and started again. It kept him company.”
Peter’s coffin – which was yellow and covered in the show’s stickers – was carried to Barham Crematorium in a yellow hearse towed by a Reliant Regal, provided by a company called Only Fools and Hearses, on Tuesday afternoon.
Its route took it along the seafront and through the centre of town – drawing interested gazes, rounds of applause and smiles.
Two of the funeral directors, from Herne Bay Funeral Service, volunteered to dress up as Batman and Robin to lead the procession through Central Parade.
At the crematorium, his coffin was carried in to the sitcom’s theme tune and, at his wake, DVDs of the comedy were shown on one of the screens.
“There were about 40 people – various family members, friends and market traders,” said Scott.
“They didn’t have any idea about the theme until we turned up and so there were big smiles, rather than tears.
“Although I lost my dad, we gave him the best send off we possibly could and it was a real celebration of his life.”