A VILLAGE was brought to a standstill today (July 17) as hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects to “a true gypsy lady".

Dozens of family and friends of mother-of-nine Nancy Dowd, 80, of West Auckland, County Durham, walked behind the horse and cart carrying her coffin.

Her funeral took place at St Wilfrid’s RC Church, in Bishop Auckland, before her coffin was transferred from a hearse to a horse and cart at St Paulinus RC Church, in St Helen Auckland.

The procession, which also included flatbed trucks packed with flowers, went from there to the cemetery in West Auckland.

The main road through the village was brought to a standstill and onlookers stood and paid their respects.

In a tribute to the West Cornforth-born grandmother-of-30 and great-grandmother-to-48, her family said: “She was a true gypsy lady and mother-of-nine who she raised on her own when her husband Jackie passed away 46-years-ago.

“She worked hard all her life and always paid her way. She never asked anyone for anything. She will be sadly missed by a lot of people from all over the world."

Her family said she loved going to all the fairs with her horse and wagons.

The tribute continued: “She was very well liked and respected by everyone she knew, even the dustbin man.

“Her door was always open to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She always had a pan on the boil and fed all her neighbourhood.

“She always had a beautiful home and it was immaculate. Lots of people will remember her for her lively and outgoing personality. She was the heart and soul of the family and this is the end of an era.”