Driving instructors plan funeral convoy to pay respects to Sunderland dad who died of coronavirus

Driving instructors are to create a guard of honour followed by a procession of their learner vehicles as they pay tribute to one of their own.

Sunday, 26th April 2020, 12:00 pm

With only a small number able to attend his funeral service at Sunderland Crematorium tomorrow, Monday, April 27, fellow driving instructors plan to hold a guard of honour as he leaves his East Herrington home, bowing their heads as he passes.

Around 20 plan to follow him in their cars, then disperse once they reach The Broadway.

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Family man Phil Graham, who lost his life to coronavirus on March 31.

With his service at 2pm, the procession is expected between 1.30pm and 1.45pm.

The effort has been arranged by Sunderland Approved Driving Instructors (SADI), with the convoy to travel along the A690, Springwell Road and onto the A183 Chester Road.

SADI member Peter Scott said: “As driving instructors, we’re a large but close-knit family, we are a community in Sunderland and we wanted to all come together.

“Phil was so well-respected and as a long-serving driving instructor, we want to be able to show our respects.”

Phil, who was dad to Nathan, Joy and Rebecca, worked as a driving instructor for 10 years and joined the DrewMatic earlier this year.

In a statement, the firm said: “Phil brought a massive amount of skill and experience to DrewMatic and he has left us with a gaping void that can never, ever be filled.

“To Phil’s grieving family, we extend to you our sincerest condolences.

“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.”

There are plans to hold a release of red balloons and for people to wear the colour, chosen to represent the blood of Christ, as Phil was a committed Christian.

Susan said: “I just want to say that Phil was the love of my life and he didn’t deserve to die like this. I want people to observe the rules. This can happen to anyone.”

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