It may be a rather unusual business model – but one Fleetwood trader says his Only Fools and Horses themed funeral service is becoming a growing success.
While his bight yellow hearse – adapted from the classic yellow Reliant Regal three-wheel van made popular by Del Boy and Rodney – may have raised a few eyebrows, Darren Abey said the response has been excellent.
In just under a year since the set up the aptly-named Only Fools and Hearses, Mr Abey, a fan of the classic sitcom, has been involved in five funerals.
He created the unique funeral vehicle after paying £13,000 to transform a Reliant van into a trailer hearse.
He said he was proud to be able to offer an alternative to traditional, more sombre black hearse.
Mr Abey said: “A lot of people are frightened of trying to step beyond the black hearse.
“They say ‘you can’t do it’. Well why not?”
He said he was getting increasing numbers of enquiries about his services, with many people keen to lift the mood at funerals.
He has travelled all over the country – including the Lake District, Manchester, London and Kent – as part of the business.
Mr Abey said: “It does make such a massive difference – people are celebrating someone’s life rather than saying someone has passed away and it’s very sad.
“I think the reason why people wanted it is because they thought the black hearse was a bit too depressing – they wanted to lighten it a bit.
“When you have got something like what I’ve got, everybody smiles.”
However, he understands his services will not suit all tastes.
He had three potential customers pull out at the last minute because family members were not convinced.
But the general response has been very positive, he said.
Mr Abey highlighted the show’s enduring popularity as a major reason for that.
He said: “For some of the Christmas editions of Only Fools and Horses there were 26 million people watching.”
And one funeral he attended attracted plenty of interest from nearby residents too.
He added: “Three people came out of the bungalows taking pictures and saying ‘that’s the way I want to go’.
“It will never be the thing that everybody wants but for the people that do want it, it’s there.”
Visit www.onlyfoolsandhearses.com/ for more details