A FAMILY have spoken of their gratitude after neighbours turned out to clear snow so a funeral could go ahead.

Danny McCullagh’s funeral was due to take place on Friday at St Mary’s RC Church in Blackhill, Consett, but the family had been worried it might not go ahead due to the snow and icy weather caused by last week’s storms.

But in an act of respect and gratitude, the community turned out in force to dig snow and clear the roads, so the funeral procession could make its way through.

Mr McCullagh’s son, Carl, said: “We had been really worried that the funeral would be cancelled, so I asked a few people to help us clear a bit of snow, but the next thing I knew there was a small army of people helping. People were even transporting grit on sledges down the street.

“People started to turn up at about 8am to clear the road so the hearse could get to the house to pick the family up.

"The hearse had been due to park at the top of the street, but the road had been cleared so well that the hearse was able to park at the house. Someone from Joseph Page coal supplier turned up with a JCB.

“The family are so grateful that so many people turned out to help.”

Mr McCullagh, of Bessemer Street, Blackhill, who died on February 13 at Sunderland hospital, was born in Northern Ireland, but lived in Consett most of his life. He spent a lifetime as pipe fitter, working across the country.

His son Carl said: “People even turned out to the church to clear the road and path to the church. Everyone has been so amazing and thanks to them we were able to give my dad a good send off.”

Mr McCullagh leaves wife Marilynne, sons Carl, Lee and Kevin, daughters Lynsey and Louise, and eight grandchildren.