PADDY Doherty led tributes to his tragic nephew at a boozy wake in a Wetherspoons following a lavish £100,000 funeral today.
The TV star joined hundreds of travellers at the Edmund Tylney pub in Leatherhead, Surrey, to mourn 32-year-old Mikey Connors, who was killed in a horse and cart race last month.
Gary Stone -The Sun Mourners at the Edmund Tylney pub in Leatherhead, Surrey, pay tribute to Mikey Connors
Gary Stone -The Sun The boozy wake comes after a lavish £100,000 funeral
Police kept a close eye on the festivities with regular patrols passing the pub as Paddy and Mikey’s mum Mary drank inside the bargain boozer.
It comes after more than 2,000 people brought the Surrey stockbroker town of Ashtead to a standstill as a fleet of 16 white Rolls Royces drove Paddy and pals to the service today.
Mourners then travelled to Epsom racecourse and blocked off the road with their Range Rovers, waving on local traffic, to hold a horse and trap race before the burial.
The suited travellers raced their traps up and down the road yelling “go on, Mikey Connors” and “this is how we send Mikey off!” as the horses hurtled along the road.
London News Pictures Paddy Doherty is overcome by emotion as he is faced with the coffin of his nephew, Mikey Connors
SWNS:South West News Service Paddy sobbed as he joined the huge crowd of mourners at his nephew’s funeral
Simon Jones – The Sun He proudly held Mikey’s boxing gloves aloft as the large crowd paid tribute to him
The Mercedes funeral hearse, with 32-year-old Connors’s coffin still inside, raced alongside the traps with youngsters and his mum Mary leaning out the window to shout Mikey’s name.
The hearse then joined the eight horse-carts as they raced at high speed along the road dotted by police officers.
Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty stood in the road shouting ‘oi, oi’ to keep the parade together as the horse-carts were flanked by the white Mercedes.
Meanwhile a small aircraft circled overhead with a giant banner reading “Mikey Connors – Legend – RIP” before the coffin was transferred to a horse-drawn carriage on its way to the cemetery.
SWNS:South West News Service Paddy is seen here holding up his nephew’s coffin
London News Pictures Devastated friends and family members embraced the carriage carrying the coffin
London News Pictures Horses raced ahead of the hearse to pay tribute to Mikey
London News Pictures Mourners leaned out of the hearse carrying Mikey’s coffin
Simon Jones – The Sun A mourner arrives to pay her respects to Mikey
Dan Jones images Ltd Family and friends gathered to pay tribute to the popular traveller
Simon Jones – The Sun His boxing belt was paraded through the racecourse by the mourners
Family Friend Mikey Connors was a big boxing fan
His pale-blue coffin was inscribed with the words “our one in a billion” and took centre stage of the emotional tribute with his mum Mary weeping over the casket alongside his young wife Lizzie.
Today, Paddy paid tribute to Mikey – remembering him as a “fighter, singer, dancer”.
Wiping tears from his eyes after the service, Paddy told The Sun: “Mikey was just like Father Christmas – everybody loved him. It was a hugely emotional service with tears everywhere.
“He wasn’t a five star bloke, he was a twenty star bloke. His daughter said in the church, ‘I know my daddy will have the best time in heaven because he always had the best of everything.’
“We weren’t allowed to cry at my father’s funeral because that’s what he asked for and the way he was.
“But my father wasn’t there today so everyone was crying their eyes out.”
London News Pictures Mikey loved to race horses, and a number of riders raced their steeds along the road his coffin was driven down
London News Pictures Riders in their funeral outfits raced up and down an Epsom road
SWNS:South West News Service Mikey, left, pictured with a loved one in a floral tribute
Dan Jones images Ltd Paddy Doherty pictured walking next to the coffin of his nephew
London News Pictures Hands from the large crowd of mourners reach up to steady and carry the coffin of Mikey
Simon Jones – The Sun Mikey was given a huge send off, with thousands of people gathering for the funeral
London News Pictures A line of Rolls Royces arrive for the lavish send off for the beloved traveller Paddy Doherty gives emotional statement at Mikey Connors funeral
There were flowers adorning large photos of Mikey and his family – from holidays to Universal Studios to smiling family portraits with Paddy.
Written on one tribute to Mikey was “352 World Record” – possibly relating to horsecart racing – clearly a major part of Mikey’s 30-year-long life.
There was also a small white bungalow of flowers with a black roof and brown trim – written on top was ‘may you get the best bed in heaven’.
A Rolex watch was made of brown flowers – displaying the time of 2.46, with the date ’21’.
The Sun Mikey Connors with his champion horse Big T – the pair were both killed when they were hit by a car
London News Pictures A banner paying tribute to Mikey was pulled through the sky
Simon Jones – The Sun The Celeb Big Brother winner was overcome with emotion
The coffin was held on the shoulders of ten smartly dressed men as a young girl and boy – believed to be Mikey’s children, led the procession.
They held a ‘WBC’ boxing belt and a framed photo of Mikey kissing a small child.
A woman followed the coffin with a speaker, which played ‘A Place in the Sun’ by Stevie Wonder, followed by ‘Shotgun’ by George Ezra.
Some of the crowd sang along, while other pumped the air with their hands.
The funeral of dad-of-two Mikey – who had been regarded as a “hero” and “brilliant fighter” by fellow travellers – was under tight police security.
Cops were pictured trying to control the traffic this morning as a fleet of 16 Rolls Royce Phantom cars arrived at St Michaels Church in Ashtead.
London News Pictures Devastated family members take a moment as they look at Mikey’s coffin
SWNS:South West News Service Mourners dressed in their finery – and drinking Red Bull – arrive for the funeral of Mikey Connors
SWNS:South West News Service Mourners were requested to dress in outfits fit for a summer ball
SWNS:South West News Service Mourners were asked to dress in blue – Mikey’s favourite colour
SWNS:South West News Service Celebrity Big Brother star Paddy has lost several members of his family recently
SWNS:South West News Service The large crowd walked behind a cortege of white horses
The cortege was made up of white Rolls-Royce cars with blue flags on top, which brought traffic to a standstill after driving the mourners to the church.
Mikey’s horse Big T, killed in the same crash which led to the arrest of a man on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, was also commemorated at the ceremony with flowers in his name.
Cops were trying to clear the narrow lanes around the church as curious locals watched on while stood in front of a millionaire’s row of houses.
SWNS:South West News Service A young mourner arrives for the emotional day – stepping out from a Rolls Royce Phantom
SWNS:South West News Service A mourner arrives in a short black dress for the service
Chief undertaker Paul Brown, who organised the funeral, said: “I’ve organised quite a few of these funerals but nothing on this scale.
“It’s taken three weeks to plan and people have come from all over the world.
“You can see it’s caused chaos in the town – nobody wants that to happen – but it’s impossible to organise a funeral of this size without impacting the community.”
The travellers are later planning a celebration of Mikey’s life into the early hours of Wednesday morning at a secret five-star hotel within 20 miles of the funeral service.
Tragic Mikey – a lookalike for his famous TV uncle Paddy – was revered as a champion horse trainer who ran a stud farm near to his burial place.
Mikey Connors, nephew of Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty, competes in a horse race on the A3 months before his death
SWNS:South West News Service A red carpet led the way to Mikey’s burial plot
Simon Jones – The Sun Grieving family and friends take a moment before they pay their final farewell to Mikey
SWNS:South West News Service A young woman arrives for the 2,000-strong funeral for the popular traveller
One traveller said: “This is the ultimate tribute and nothing – not even the police – will stop us because Mikey lost his life racing and this is the ultimate honour.” Last night Paddy – Celeb Big Brother 2011 winner – looked distraught as he led a 500-strong crowd at a pre-funeral.
Reports claim a bare knuckle fight is due to take place after the service to settle a long running feud.
This morning police mounted a huge security operation to prevent any violence as gypsies arrived from across the world for the big send-off.
SWNS:South West News Service Those attending the funeral were asked to dress in an outfit fit for a summer ball
SWNS:South West News Service A fleet of Rolls Royce Phantoms parked outside the church this morning
London News Pictures A flag declaring Mikey ‘our legend’ fluttered from one of the many Rolls Royces cars arriving at the funeral
SWNS:South West News Service More women in blue arrived on the red carpet for Mikey’s send off
SWNS:South West News Service Mikey, left, with his cousin, who left an emotional message on a photo of the pair of them
London News Pictures Hundreds of people are expected to turn up for the funeral today
London News Pictures A police officer trying to control the traffic as more than a dozen Rolls Royce Phantoms arrive
Police chiefs have called on pubs and local businesses to warn them to close their premises today and shut early last night.
At the funeral mourners were asked to be dressed fit for a summer ball by wearing powder blue outfits – Mikey’s favourite colour.
Women arrived in striking dresses, high heels and traditional costume jewellery – while the men donned shades, smart suits and slicked-back hair.
Travellers come from as far afield as America and Switzerland.
The lavish funeral expected to see more than 2,000 people attend
SWNS:South West News Service Pictures and floral tributes to the 32-year-old are laid out at the cemetery
SWNS:South West News Service A woman in a black dress arrives for the send-off
SWNS:South West News Service Multiple floral tributes have been created for the funeral – where thousands of people are expected to attend
London News Pictures A floral tribute made in the shape of a pony and trap is seen at the cemetery ahead of the funeral of traveller Mikey Connors