HUNDREDS of people from Westbury and the surrounding areas gathered to pay their respects and celebrate the life of a well known and loved Westbury man.

More than 400 people filled All Saints Church in Westbury when the funeral of undertaker Arthur William Mays was held on Tuesday morning (October 10).

Family, friends, past colleagues and clients bowed their heads as the hearse drove into the church yard with the coffin, which was carried in by the sons of Anne Adams, a next door neighbour and the daughter Mr Mays never had.

The 1960's hearse was brought out of moth balls for the funeral of its owner, which has only been used for one other funeral since 1991.

A friend of Mr Mays, Mary Harding said: "Arthur arranged the funerals for my mother and father, as well as my mother and father in law.

"He was such a lovely man with such a lovely manner about him.

"He was such a gentleman and just so generous."

Former town councillor Mike Pearce said: "Arthur was just fabulous.

"He buried both of my parents and he turned to me one day and he said what a pleasure it was to bury my family, and we knew exactly what he meant. There is no one else who could get away with saying that, but that's just Arthur."

Westbury Town Mayor Gordon King said: "Arthur was the first ever recipient of a West County Civic Award, and we wanted to nominate him for a national award, but he would not accept it, that's the kind of man he was.

"He had an incredible spirit about him."

Revd Rohna Floate who conducted the service said: "He was a true gentleman, and as soon as people in the town heard of his passing, they were all asking about the funeral and were so eager to pay their respects.

"Everyone who knew Arthur has there own little stories to tell, but they are all consistent in regards to him being such a lovely man."