Man's dying wish granted as JCB takes his coffin from his Padiham home to his final resting place

A civil engineer, who played a key role in the construction of some of the country's major motorways, had his dying wish granted to be transported to his final resting place in a JCB.

Friday, 15th May 2020, 3:45 pm
The coffin of Padiham man Roy Mellor is placed into the cradle of the JCB, poignantly topped with a hard hat.

The coffin of Roy Mellor was carried from his home in Padiham to Burnley Crematorium in a JCB owned by the company Fortel.

A major subcontractor in the industry, the company had worked with Roy on many projects and this was its last salute and mark of respect to Roy who spent 50 years working in the industry.

Roy's daughter, Jane Dawtrey, said: "Dad had always said to me this was what he wanted and when we knew he was dying I asked him again and he said yes so I decided to see if it was possible.

Roy Mellor, who worked in the construction industry for 50 years, was said to be respected by everyone, from 'managing director to labourer'

"When I approached Fortel the company did not hesitate to say yes.

"A few people did a double take as we drove along with the cortege but that is just what dad would have wanted, he would have loved being the centre of attention."

Alderson and Horan funeral director Richard Edmondson said the JCB was certainly one of the most unusual requests he had ever dealt with.

Richard said: "The contractors came along with their own team to make sure the coffin was securely strapped into the cradle of the JCB.

Roy's coffin is carried towards the JCB

"The hearse drove in the front of the JCB so that people could see what was happening as it was quite an unusual sight but we are always happy to accommodate family's requests for their loved ones."

Originally from Fleetwood, Roy spent most of his life in Padiham, where he loved being with his family and his partner Margaret Finnigan. He also enjoyed socialising with friends, was a regular at the Hare and Hounds pub and loved attending charity boxing matches.

Roy, who was 72, enjoyed good health all his life until he was diagnosed with heart disease five years ago.

Jane said: "My dad worked really hard all his life but he said he had enjoyed a wonderful life and had no regrets."

For 30 years of his career Roy worked as a general foreman employed by many of the UK's major companies including McAlpine, Cementation (now Skanska) Birse, Nuttalls and Balfour Beatty.

During his career Roy was involved in a wide variety of civil engineering works including motorways, structures, deep drainage, water treatment works, taxiways, coastal works and oil refineries.

Major motorways in which Roy played a key role include the M65 Huncoat to Clayton section and the M25/M4 interchange. He also worked on the M6 and M1.

Mike Foley, a project manager who worked with Roy paid tribute to him as someone who was respected by all 'from managing director to labourer' saying: "Roy touched the lives of very many people, not least me, and I will miss him dearly."

Describing Roy as 'such a character who was full of life' contracts manager Richard Moore said: " Roy was certainly one a million who will be sadly missed."