Driving instructors make convoy to pay respects to Sunderland dad after coronavirus death

Around 60 driving instructors created a convoy through Sunderland as they paid their respects to a colleague who was claimed by the coronavirus.

Monday, 27th April 2020, 5:26 pm

Phil Graham died in hospital at the end of last month after falling ill with the coronavirus.

The 59-year-old, who had just celebrated 35 years of marriage to Susan and was dad to Nathan, Joy and Rebecca, had worked as a driving instructor for the last decade and joined the DrewMatic motoring school in February.

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Driving instructors led a convoy behind Phil Graham as he was taken to his funeral service at Sunderland Crematorium.

His funeral was held today, Monday, April 27, at Sunderland Crematorium, and with only a small number of people able to attend the service, his fellow instructors decided to create a tribute of their own.

The effort was led by Sunderland Approved Driving Instructors (SADI) with their route following the A690 Durham Road, Springwell Road and then onto the A183 Chester Road and then up to the crematorium gates, where the cars then dispersed.

Peter Scott, one of its members, helped bring together the tribute.

Family man Phil Graham was a well-respected driving instructor who taught people to drive on Wearside for around a decade.

He said: “It was an excellent turnout for Phil and he was a highly respected driving instructor who covered the Sunderland area.

“About 60 cars turned up and there would have been more, but because of the lockdown etc, more couldn’t turn up.

“I’m just so proud of our drivers who have turned up today, they showed how much he is respected and how this situation has affected us.

“He will be sadly missed, he was a very bright man with a lovely family, Susan and his three kids will miss him really badly.

The cars headed on after reaching Sunderland Crematorium.

“I don’t know what we’ll do without him, but like everyone else in the country, we’re just going to get on with it.”

In a statement, DrewMatic’s company bosses said: “He has left us with a gaping void that can never, ever be filled.

“We hardly got the chance to even know him, but we do know how incredibly happy he was here and how much he was looking forward to his future with us.”

A message from the Editor:

Members of Sunderland Approved Driving Instructors (SADI) and instructors from beyond Sunderland turned out for the tribute.

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Around 50 driving instructors turned out to show their respects to Phil Graham.