Hundreds of travellers descend on Surrey church for funeral of TV personality Paddy Doherty's father

Hatty Collier
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty (centre), with his brothers Qe (front) and Johnny (right) on a horse drawn hearse on Harrow Road: PA

Hundreds of travellers have descended on a church in Surrey for the funeral of TV personality Paddy Doherty’s father.

Mourners joined the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Celebrity Big Brother star to say goodbye to Simon Doherty, remembered as the "father of all travellers" at a service in Ashtead.

A huge procession through north London later took place along the Harrow Road following the service at St Michael’s Church.

More than a dozen silver Rolls Royces, each bearing the Irish tricolour, lined up outside the church on Monday afternoon.

Mourners arrive for the funeral of Simon Doherty in Surrey(PA)

Mr Doherty's coffin was emblazoned with the colours of the Irish flag and the message: "Simon Doherty - blacksmith, King of all Doherty's".

Paddy Doherty said: "He was like Mafia in his own way, not in a bad way - any trouble they would go to him. He was like the godfather - what he said was law.

"He said I want no one crying at my funeral, I want them happy, singing and get them drunk."

The 58-year-old former bare knuckle fighter sat with his hand resting on his father's coffin throughout the service and tributes, which included video footage of Mr Doherty senior in a horse race and a group of Irish dancers.

The coffin of Simon Doherty in Ashtead (PA)

"He wasn't an average man - he was outstanding, a great man," he added.

"Everything had to be five stars for him, he lived the best and was the best.

Mourners arrive for the funeral of Simon Doherty in Surrey (PA)

"My poor mother - her heart is devastated, her heart is broken.

"I'm so grateful how many people have turned out - we just want everything to go well, everything has to be tremendous and over the top."

Close family members wore red ties, Mr Doherty's favourite colour, which they will throw into his grave.

Floral tributes were laid on the altar in the shape of an Irish shamrock, bottles of whisky, pint of Guinness and a Rolls Royce. Mr Doherty's coffin was driven away in a silver Rolls Royce hearse.

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