FOURTEEN horses led a procession for a Romany gypsy’s funeral which was also attended by boxer Tyson Fury.

Michael White died aged 80 on June 14 and hundreds of people lined the streets of Christchurch for his funeral on Tuesday July 7.

He leaves sons Michael, 58, and Tony White, 56, and daughters Caroline Welch, 54, Gabriel Boswell, and Misha Adams, both 24.

Bournemouth Echo:

Michael junior said: “Romany gypsies first came to Dorset in the 1500s. A book published in 1890 shows how long we’ve been in the New Forest and it states the purest of descent are the Whites.

“My family have a rich history in Christchurch, my great grandmother was a flower seller here.

“My family settled in Christchurch in the 1800s. My dad met my mum when he was about 14.

“They went from selling strawberries to growing their own.

“When the price of strawberries dropped, they sold up and bought caravan sites in Chesterfield.

“Since then the whole family has been involved in the residential park home business.”

Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury attended the funeral of Michael senior, as he is a close friend of the family.

Bournemouth Echo:

Michael continued: “When we moved to Chesterfield we were only about 13 years old and all joined a boxing club.

“We met John Fury, Tyson’s father. That was when we first met the Furys and we have been very close since.

“It’s very rare he’ll come down because he is a superstar, but he wanted to pay his respects.

“The compassion of Tyson to travel from Morecombe to visit people he has grown up with was amazing.

“He was showing not only respect to us as a family, but also respect to his own father by coming with him.”

Speaking about the funeral, Michael said: “It was very interesting. We had to drive through a strawberry field, and it was overlooking a lake.

“Even though dad was not there in the flesh he was there in spirit.

“The horses were incredible. The sunshine was unbelievable.

“People came to pay their respects to a true gentleman.

“My dad was a wonderful man. My mum, Nellie, passed away in 1989 and she was a beautiful lady.

“My dad has been laid to rest at Christchurch cemetery next to his wife.”

Bournemouth Echo:

He added: “I would like to thank to people of Christchurch for their patience. It was a perfect day.”

Funeral director, Jonathan Terry, described the funeral as unique.

He said: “In my 35 years of conducting funerals we have never had a procession like we did in Christchurch.

“There were restrictions, we were permitted to 72 people in the Priory but people stood outside and travelled from far and wide. It was very special.”