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Nottinghamshire funeral firms join forces to keep local tradition alive

Two Nottinghamshire funeral suppliers joined forces to pay tribute to a local woman when they helped to organise an annual coffin walk.

For the fourth year running, Gillotts Funeral Directors and coffin makers Steve Soult played a role in the Brinsley Coffin Walk, a Nottinghamshire tradition which retraces the steps of villagers living 150 years ago, who had to carry their dead three miles in order to bury them.

The event was first held 13 years ago to highlight the hardships for villagers living in Brinsley, 19 miles from Nottingham, who used to have to trek across fields to the neighbouring village of Greasley because Brinsley did not have its own church. Their journeys came to an end in 1861, when the village got its own place of worship, St James The Great Church.

The revived walk, which took place at the end of last month, was led by Joanne Hutsby, a partner in Eastwood-based Gillotts Funeral Directors, while Steve Soult supplied a full-sized coffin, carried by the firm’s own staff.

Doreen Lockett, a historian and parishioner who used to performed a symbolic service in the church graveyard every year when the walkers arrived in Brinsley, died last November and staff at Steve Soult made sure that she was at the centre of the event by engraving her name into the wooden sides of the coffin.

Hutsby said: “Doreen was a wonderful supporter of the walk and was so proud of the tradition and the history associated with it. The walk is hard, and she was always a welcome site when we arrived at the churchyard in Greasley, as well as serving everyone much-appreciated tea and biscuits.

“Everybody associated with the walk was very sad to know that she wasn’t there to perform the same duties for us this year, but the event was another success and we made sure that Doreen was remembered all the way through.”

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