Parrys’ starring role at Cilla Black’s funeral

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Award-winning coach operator does industry proud at celebrity’s final journey

Parrys' coaches prepare for departure from the Hilton hotel. PARRYS INTERNATIONAL
Parrys’ coaches prepare for departure from the Hilton hotel. PARRYS INTERNATIONAL

Parrys International was in the national spotlight last week when the respected Cheslyn Hay-based coach operator played a key role at Cilla Black’s funeral.

Five Parrys vehicles were in the cortege – three Neoplan Starliners and two Mercedes-Benz Sprinters.

The three coaches ran direct from the Liverpool Hilton hotel toas near as it was possible to get to the church, while the minibuses ran almost to the church door.

Parrys International Managing Director Dave Parry told CBW: “We started off at the same place – the Hilton. It was top secret for obvious reasons. The two Sprinters carried the family and those giving speeches, such as Paul O’Grady, Gerry Mason and Christopher Biggins. The big coaches carried a host of distinguished celebrities and guests. We transported about 100 guests in all.

“After the funeral, the two Sprinters took the immediate family to the cemetery for the private burial, while the remainder travelled back for the wake.”

Answering a question posed by many, Dave said: “I dare say some in the industry will be wondering why a local coach operator had not be contracted for the work. We were asked – we didn’t volunteer. As it happened, we had availability, so we agreed to do it.

“We had a couple of days’ notice. It just happened that we had availability. We had coaches returning from our tour programme on the Wednesday. We don’t normally do much private hire.”

With Parrys’ coaches being named, it was fitting that ‘City of Liverpool’ was available to take part in the cortege. The attention to detail went further, with ‘Cilla’ being displayed on the destination screens, something that did not go unnoticed, including by the Daily Telegraph.

Reflecting on the day, Dave said: “We wanted to be discrete and professional, giving the family as much respect as possible. I drove one of the Starliners myself. It was an honour- proud to do the job. We were overwhelmed. The people onboard would not normally travel by coach. One individual told me the coach was better than their home.

“As would be expected, there was hightened security – and it all ran smoothly. The day before I had a meeting with key organisers and we had a rehearsal along several routes. When we left the hotel, we had to do it right. Fortunately, we go to Liverpool on our weekend tours, so it’s familiar territory.”