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Funeral held in Park Wood for Johnny Cash and Johnboy Cash killed near Headcorn


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A father and son who were among four to die in a horror crash have been laid to rest with hundreds of mourners from across the country descending on Kent.

The coffins of Johnny Cash and Johnboy, 44 and 19, were first carried into the Holy Family Church in Park Wood before being driven the short distance to Maidstone Cemetery in Sutton Road.

There a crowd gathered to welcome the hearses while the grey coffins were carried along paths to the sound of bagpipe music.

One woman, who didn’t want to be named, said: “It shows you how much they were loved, seeing a turn out like this. Johnny was known by everyone. I still can’t believe what’s happened. Those poor men and their families.”

While a man in his 50s, who came down from Liverpool, added: “We came to show our respects as did hundreds of people. It’s a proper goodbye for both of them and it’ll be the same next week. God bless them all.”

The crash in the early hours of October 10, near Headcorn also claimed the lives of family members Miles 'Smiler' Cash, 25 and Jacko Cosgrove, 18. Their funerals will be held separately.

Johnny and Johnboy, who had recently become a father, lived near the scene of the crash, at Martin's Gardens, in Lenham Road.

Images of the pair were projected on to vans outside the church in Bicknor Road, with scores of mourners unable to get a seat and gathering around the entrance.

One of the coffins is carried into a hearse. Picture: Barry Goodwin
One of the coffins is carried into a hearse. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Flowers displaying Johnny Cash's name were on display to mark the sad occasion. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Flowers displaying Johnny Cash's name were on display to mark the sad occasion. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Traffic is backing up in Maidstone
Traffic is backing up in Maidstone

It had been expected to start at 11am but was delayed. Hearses then left the church and arrived at the cemetery at around 2pm.

Travellers from around the country attended, including families from Liverpool, Cornwall and Wolverhampton. It is estimated around 300 made the trip.

Funerals are being held today for Johnboy Cash, 19, and his father Johnny Cash, 44
Funerals are being held today for Johnboy Cash, 19, and his father Johnny Cash, 44
A bus got stuck due to the volume of traffic which has arrived for the funerals
A bus got stuck due to the volume of traffic which has arrived for the funerals
The funerals took place for Johnny and Johnboy Cash in Park Wood
The funerals took place for Johnny and Johnboy Cash in Park Wood
Large numbers outside the church caused some traffic problems
Large numbers outside the church caused some traffic problems

One man who knew the family said: “It’s an absolute tragedy what’s happened. Four men losing their lives who just wanted to watch Tyson Fury.

"I knew the Cashs and it’s terrible what’s happened.”

The group had been on their way to watch The Gypsy King's trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder when their Toyota Hilux crashed in heavy fog.

The service was led by Father Desmond Mbidoaka, who has been at the church for nearly four years.

Ahead of the service he said the church has the capacity for 130, but doors would be left open for family and friends to stand or sit outside.

The cortege for father and son Johnny Cash and Johnboy Cash. Picture: Barry Goodwin
The cortege for father and son Johnny Cash and Johnboy Cash. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Flowers were left on top of one of the hearses. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Flowers were left on top of one of the hearses. Picture: Barry Goodwin

He added: “We are hoping for good weather and, by God’s grace, for it all to go well.

“We expect it will be busy, but don’t think there will be any problems and we’ll be as accommodating as we can for however many guests arrive.”

Johnboy Cash (far left) and Johnny Cash (far right) were killed in a crash alongside Miles 'Smiler' Cash and Jacko Cosgrove.
Johnboy Cash (far left) and Johnny Cash (far right) were killed in a crash alongside Miles 'Smiler' Cash and Jacko Cosgrove.

Reverend Desmond said a service will be held for Jacko Cosgrove on Wednesday.

Speaking after the funeral, he said: "It was so sad and so painful because it's not something you would wish on anybody and with it being four members of the same family it's so tragic.

"I quickly went down to the camp and crash site to try and console the family.

"I would often see Johnny at mass and he would always come and say hello to me and I've seen Jacko and Johnboy at church together. It is so, so sad."

Some residents in neighbouring roads had complained about the rubbish and mess left by the hundreds of visitors, but Rev. Desmond said he and his team cleared up any rubbish left behind.

Cars arriving for the funerals
Cars arriving for the funerals

Yesterday, most pubs and some other businesses in Maidstone closed ahead of the service, and remain shut today.

Today's funerals follows a mass held on Monday, at St Frances Church, in Maidstone, for the four men.

Mourners watched as their coffins were taken into the building, and large pictures of the deceased were carried behind.

Photos of father and son Johnny Cash and Johnboy have been projected on to a van at their funerals in Maidstone
Photos of father and son Johnny Cash and Johnboy have been projected on to a van at their funerals in Maidstone
Traffic has been backing up by the church
Traffic has been backing up by the church

The group died after their Toyota Hilux truck crashed into a tree on Lenham Road. Jerry Cash, 15, was seriously injured and remains in hospital.

Following the tragedy, hundreds of tributes were left at the scene of the crash, a cross was erected and the names of the victims carved into a damaged tree.

Boxer Fury paid tribute to the four men in a video message.

The 33-year-old WBC champion, fresh from winning the Las Vegas classic, said: "I'd like to send my condolences and rest in peace to the Cash family and the Cosgrove family on their recent loss.

"God bless them, make them a good bed in heaven, right in the name of Jesus Amen."

Many mourners have followed the procession to the cemetery
Many mourners have followed the procession to the cemetery
A mass service was held on Monday, for the four men who died in a crash near Headcorn on October 10. Pictures were held aloft of the deceased
A mass service was held on Monday, for the four men who died in a crash near Headcorn on October 10. Pictures were held aloft of the deceased

Jacko, the youngest, had been a member of Tenterden Amateur Boxing Club and had recently learned his wife was expecting.

Johnboy had become a dad just six weeks ago.

His wife Grace left a tribute of lilies by the side of the crash site, "In Loving Memory of a Dear Husband".

She wrote: “To my Baby. I love you so much and your baby Bridie loves you, too.”

People arriving for the funerals of Johnny Cash and Johnboy in Maidstone
People arriving for the funerals of Johnny Cash and Johnboy in Maidstone
Two designs that were left in the shape of a heart could also be seen. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Two designs that were left in the shape of a heart could also be seen. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Flowers left as mourners remember father and son Johnny Cash and Johnboy Cash. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Flowers left as mourners remember father and son Johnny Cash and Johnboy Cash. Picture: Barry Goodwin
This design showed a love for Artichoke Joe's Casino which is based in the United States. Picture: Barry Goodwin
This design showed a love for Artichoke Joe's Casino which is based in the United States. Picture: Barry Goodwin
A floral tribute to the Cashs. Picture: Barry Goodwin
A floral tribute to the Cashs. Picture: Barry Goodwin

One family member visiting the scene of the crash said: “They were all lovely men. It's so sad. It's a shame so many lives have been lost in one time.

“It has affected wives, kids, brothers and cousins. So many have been hurt at once. They are never going to get over this.”

An inquest opening into the crash heard Johnny Cash had been driving the vehicle when the fatal accident happened.

The coroner heard that for reasons unknown the nearside wheels of the pick-up truck had gone onto the verge, then the vehicle slipped down a gully and crashed into a tree.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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