Friends see Tony off as he takes his final journey on tractor

Saxon's ashes and ball. Photo: Twitter @HantsFireDogs

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TONY Parker had a vintage tractor in his garage for 10 years and despite many hours of tinkering, he never managed to get the engine working.

His wife, Norma, had bought him it as a birthday present and he had lovingly painted it back to its original green.

A vintage tractor brings the coffin of retired agricultural engineer Tony Parker, inset, to Portchester Crematorium

A vintage tractor brings the coffin of retired agricultural engineer Tony Parker, inset, to Portchester Crematorium

Sadly, Tony, 68, passed away last Monday after a short illness and he never fulfilled his dream of hearing the engine of his 1948 wartime tractor purr.

His son Christan, 39, from Redlands Lane, Fareham, was determined that his father would fulfil his wish and be taken to his funeral on a vintage tractor. Christan set about searching the county for a similar working model.

That’s when he came across Gary Rutter, an agricultural engineer from Petersfield, who shares a passion for vintage tractors and has a collection of 14. He agreed to take Tony’s coffin to his final send-off at Portchester crematorium on the trailer of a 1941 Perkins.

Christan said: ‘I had been trying to get that tractor running for months. I know how much he would’ve loved arriving on the tractor and how much he would have loved Mr Rutter’s collection.’

Tony, from Rowner Road, trained as an engineer at a nautical college in London when he was a young man and had enjoyed a career as a diesel service engineer. He met his wife Norma in 1965 and they settled in Gosport, owning and running the Rowner Road Service Station for many years.

When Tony retired he took up making hanging baskets and fixing lawnmowers to keep him busy.

He was also an active member of the Bridgemary, Rowner and Woodcot Community Association on Wych Lane for more than 25 years.

Scores of friends and family gathered at the association to celebrate Tony’s life and swap tales, including his children Russell, 41, Christan, and Jennifer Parker-Lummis, 34, and his 10 grandchildren.

Jennifer said: ‘My dad was an amazing man, he really taught us well.’

Christan said: ‘Many people have said that I am like my father but if that’s the case then I have learned from the best.’