‘One last tipple with our Tiny’ - Family carry coffin of ‘legendary’ dad to his Stevenage local for final send off
PUBLISHED: 11:22 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:59 24 March 2017
Drinkers at a Stevenage pub enjoyed a final tipple with one of their fellow punters when his coffin was set up in the bar, complete with a pint of his usual perched on the top.
Mourners gathered at the Pied Piper in Oaks Cross to see off their long-standing drinking partner Tiny Gulliford, who passed away aged 85 on February 11 after battling dementia.
Weeks before his death, Tiny was still supping his favourite pints of Fosters at the pub – where he had been a regular since the late 1950s.
Tiny’s daughter Tina Newson said: “It was his final wish to go back to the pub and we all stood around and chatted and had a last drink with him.
“They always looked out for him in the pub and cared about him. Somehow he always found his way back there.
“I think it’s the only pub in Hertfordshire where this has ever happened so it was quite unusual.
“His two sons Lee and Gordon carried the coffin to the pub and the pall bearers left it for half an hour with half a pint of lager on top as a tribute.”
‘Tiny’, as he’s known, was born in Falmouth and was one of nine siblings.
He lived in boys’ homes as a child, where Tina said he learned to struggle hard to survive – a trait which stayed with him all his life. He was a junior boxing champion and moved to the Stevenage when he was 14 years old.
Tina said of her father: “He was a small man but very tough and with a big personality. He was a legend. We idolised him and he was our hero.
“He was a very stern man but a very fair one.”
For a while Tiny became a jockey and then later a paint sprayer and hod carrier on building sites where he helped in the construction of parts of Stevenage New Town.
He had two children with his first wife and six with his second wife whom he married in 1974.
He began drinking at the Pied Piper in 1958 when it was re-opened by the Queen and where he met his friend – former England footballer Will Mannion.
He played darts for the pub team and cricket for Stevenage Cricket Club and will be remembered by many as a youth football coach at Longmeadow Athletic FC.
More than 100 people attended Tiny’s funeral on March 16 at Harwood Park Crematorium before the wake at the pub.
He leaves behind his children Barry, Lee, Gordon, Kelly-Anne, Lea-Ann and Tina, an incredible 26 grandchildren and two great grandchildren, the latest of whom was born just four days after his funeral.