Fitting send off for “gypsy at heart” Jack

A FUNERAL procession featuring a traditional Roma horse and trolley made its way through the streets of Hitchin last week, in an unusual tribute to a man who spent much of his life as a gypsy.

Family and friends paid their respects to Jack Hodgson, 81, who ran away with a group of gypsies when he was 16. He spent most of his life in Hitchin, but was born and raised in Norwich.

The procession went through Hitchin last Friday, before ending up at St John’s chapel.

“My dad loved horses, so it was fitting, the perfect send off,” said Mr Hodgson’s daughter, Tina Morton.

“We went past the Sailor Boy pub, where we had the wake and where my dad used to enjoy his half a pint of Guinness.”

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Mr Hodgson met his wife, Lena, through her cousins, the group of gypsies that he ran away with.

Although they never married, they stayed together in caravans and had two children, Tina and Jack.

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“In the winter we worked the land down and in the summer we went hop and strawberry picking,” said Mrs Morton.

“At the funeral, people were saying that although my dad was born a gorger, in his heart he was a gypsy.

“I’d never seen a trolley before that day and it was lovely, just what he would have wanted. I wanted my dad to be famous for the day.”

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