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I Love My Job – The vintage hearse driver

Meet Brendan Kinsella from Kent who has converted the family’s 91-year-old Guy lorry to take people on their final journey. Sharon Barnard reports

My Guy lorry was purchased by my great-grandfather in 1929 from Guy Motors in Wolverhampton. It was shipped to Perth, Australia where it worked on a wheat and sheep farm, carting wool and wheat to the railway station three times a week.

He left it to my father who restored it and took it to rallies throughout Australia. When he died it made its way back to me here in Kent.

One day I received a call from a family whose father was a lorry driver and had passed away. They felt the appropriate way to make his final journey was on the back of my Guy lorry.

I was so naive about funerals so I Googled “the length and width of coffins” and measured the flatbed part of the lorry to see if one would fit on the back. It did easily, so I said it would be a pleasure to use it for the deceased.

After the funeral the manager of W A Truelove & Son Ltd called me in for a chat. I thought I had done something wrong, but he told me the family absolutely loved my service and why didn’t I turn it into a funeral hearse?

It is the only Guy lorry funeral hearse in the world that we know of and I really enjoy driving it. It only goes 25 mph or thereabouts and [some drivers] don’t realise how slow I am going.

However, when I am doing a funeral the funeral director sits next to me, and I have the family behind me in a hearse which controls the cars behind [them] so I am now king of the road!

To tell you the truth I haven’t thought about how I’d like to be sent off, but my wife and daughter might use the lorry. It has been a big part of their lives too.

www.vintagefuneralhearse.co.uk

This is a preview of a feature article.

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