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'Thank you to you wonderful people': village bands together to ensure funeral goes ahead

The firefighters arrive to carry the coffin. (Pic: Paul Foxley)
The firefighters arrive to carry the coffin. (Pic: Paul Foxley)
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A woman has expressed her “heartfelt thanks” after countless benevolent community members in a Pendle village helped ensure her father’s funeral could go ahead despite the heavy snowfall.

After days of blizzard-like conditions, Charis Rowlands feared that the icy conditions near her house on Carrier's Row in Laneshawbridge would be too harsh for the hearse to retrieve her father, Derick Rowlands' coffin ahead of the funeral.

In an attempt to clear the roads, Charis started shovelling snow at 5am on the day of the funeral, which was due to take place at Skipton Crematorium, and was soon joined by countless members of the community who had seen a Facebook appeal asking for help posted by one of her friends, Autumn Pearson.

"Within a short period of time numerous people came to my rescue," said Charis. "I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the huge outpouring of support, help and condolences. [I] said my final goodbye to my wonderful Dad yesterday.

"What was intended to be a quiet send off for my Dad ended up with hundreds of condolences due to a post going viral on social media." she added.

Despite everyone's best attempts, the persistent snowfall rendered the effort to clear the road futile. But thankfully, members of the "remarkable" local fire brigade were also on hand to carry Derick's coffin down to the Emmott Arms pub where the hearse was waiting.

"Thank you so, so much to the local fire brigade, Helliwell’s Funeral Services, and all you wonderful people," Charis said. "I am extremely touched and overwhelmed by your community spirit.

"My Dad's service went well, [he] certainly had a good send off," she added. "Many thanks to my good friend Diane Dalby, who turned up at my house early doors. Poor Diane has only just said her final farewell to her Dad this week too.

"Thanks also to Angela Riding from Helliwell’s Funeral Services for officiating, and my wonderful friends, neighbours, and supportive people of Laneshawbridge and Colne," Charis continued. "Cheryl Turner and Karen Clark: you have given me amazing support, as have many other of my friends.

"Please do not feel sad if you were unable to attend due to the weather. I think Dad was trying to get his way of having a quiet do. He had me to contend with and where there’s a will there’s a way!"