Three injured in funeral drama

A FUNERAL procession had to be stopped when a horse-drawn carriage carrying a coffin overturned injuring three people.

Craig Robinson

A FUNERAL procession had to be stopped when a horse-drawn carriage carrying a coffin overturned injuring three people.

Emergency services were called to Bramford Road, Ipswich, at about 11am yesterday.

The carriage overturned on to a car when two of the four horses pulling it got loose and ran away.

Last night Mike Daniel, who was driving the carriage at the time of the accident, praised the family of the deceased and said it was down to a set of “extremely unfortunate” circumstances.

Mr Daniel, proprietor of Horse Drawn Promotions, said: “There was no spooking of the horses involved - no bolting that wasn't the case at all.

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“It was just an extremely unfortunate set of circumstances. Someone pulled out very quickly in front of us and to avoid running into the back of the vehicle I had to go round it.

“But then the way was blocked again for a second time and I actually had to turn the horse around and go back the way we came.

“Unfortunately it was very, very narrow - with cars going the other way. Our final problem was a metal bollard on the corner and we just toppled over.”

The funeral was conducted by Co-op Funeral Services in Ipswich but Mr Daniel's company was used for the procession.

He said he has been driving carriages for more than 20 years and this was the first time he had been involved in such an incident.

“We take health and safety very seriously and accidents such as this are extremely rare,” he said. “The two horses involved are fine - I can't criticise them they were faultless.

“It was obviously extremely traumatic for the family but they were very good and wanted to continue so the funeral went ahead.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said two other cars were damaged by the horses as they galloped away.

The animals ran off towards a nearby recreation ground and were later recaptured in Lotus Close at about 11.15am.

She said the coffin was quickly taken from the overturned carriage and transferred to a hearse.

A horseman suffered a hip injury and two grooms rib injuries, however they are not thought to be seriously hurt.

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