TRAFFIC came to a standstill as dozens of municipal vehicles formed a convoy as a mark of respect to a popular bin man.

The funeral of Stephen Jenkinson, known to family and friends as Mook, was held in Darlington on Tuesday, August 12.

Mr Jenkinson, who died on August 1 aged 53, worked 'on the bins' for 32 years.

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Hundreds packed into St Cuthbert's Church for his funeral.

After the service, more than 30 Darlington Borough Council vehicles, including bin wagons and road sweepers, followed the cortege in a dignified procession from the church and onto the ring road towards West Cemetery, where Mr Jenkinson was laid to rest.

Mr Jenkinson's wife Joanne was among the mourners, along with his children.

He also leaves behind a granddaughter and several brothers and sisters.

The congregation heard about his passions for golf and gardening and how the couple lived a life 'full of love and laughter'.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Mrs Jenkinson said: "Mook was loved and respected by all his family and friends.

"He touched everyone's hearts, he was a devoted husband and loving father, stepfather and granddad.

"Mook got his nickname from a family member when he was a child and it stayed with him all his life.

"Not many people know him as Stephen, it was always Mook.

"He loved his job very much, he worked as a refuse collector and drove the bin wagon. He went to the bin men's ball every year.

"He was life and soul of any party and everyone loved him. I will miss him so much, as will everyone."

Mr Jenkinson's siblings described him as 'one of the nicest, friendliest men you could ever wish to meet; a good, hard-working man and a loving brother'.

Many of Mr Jenkinson's council colleagues were at the funeral, some in their work uniforms.

Mr Jenkinson lived in the Skerne Park area of Darlington, and the congregation heard how he loved spending time in nearby South Park throughout his life.

A poem read on behalf of one of the congregation recalled happy times spent in the park with Mr Jenkinson.

It read: "The park is fantastic, it's fun and it's free; Go and explore it, like Mook and like me."

:: The Northern Echo attended the funeral with the permission of Mr Jenkinson's family.