Hundreds say final farewell to 'King of the Gypsies'

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Hundreds of travellers from across the UK paid their last respects to a man known as 'King of the Gypsies'.

Patrick Ward, 72, who had spent his younger years living a "traditional traveller lifestyle" had eight children and 70 grandchildren.

But after losing his battle with liver cancer earlier this month, hundreds of gypsies came to pay tribute to him.

The flamboyant procession, held in Dulwich, south London, saw Patrick's coffin arrive in a white carriage, pulled by six white horses.

A bagpipe player, another horse and cart as well as trucks full of flowers also featured in the procession.

Patrick, who worked as a builder, had moved from Ireland to Britain in the 1960s.

He went on to travel around the UK for many years, living in Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool where he met and married his wife Mary.

He finally settled in Croydon, where he lived for over 30 years.

Patrick's daughter Bernadette, 42, said her father never came to terms with the loss of his wife.

Speaking before the funeral, Bernadette said:

He never got over my mum dying five years ago, a part of him died with her. He was a very loving father and would help anyone. He had a heart of gold.

Bernadette, daughter

Mourners from the travelling community in Britain and Ireland released balloons in Patrick's honour and two police officers attended.> Fortunately, there was no trouble.> Patrick's coffin was carried through the cemetery and family members fave readings at at St Margaret Clitherow Church, in West Norwood,

Mary-Anne, Mr Ward's second eldest daughter, added:

He was the rock of the family. I can't explain how dearly he was loved, he was joyful and happy and my whole life is a fond memory of him.

Mary-Anne, daughter