Cranes Join Funeral Procession For Man Who Loved Cranes


Cranes Join Funeral Procession For Man Who Loved Cranes

November 10, 2017


A crane service in Essington, England, honored a local man who loved cranes by sending four machines to participate in his funeral procession.


crane funeral procession for man who died
Photo credit: PA


Ben Lawton greeted crane drivers every morning and evening for 20 years as they passed through the gates of ABA Crane Hire. The 35-year-old, who had autism and epilepsy, passed away suddenly after collapsing at his home in Reedswood, Walsall.


crane funeral procession for man who died
Photo credit: PA


On Wednesday, Ben’s coffin was transported to the crematorium in one of the company’s vans, which was followed by the hearse, three large cranes and a smaller crane.


crane funeral procession for man who died
Photo credit: PA


“When he was little his bedroom overlooked a crane yard,” Ben’s father said. “He could see the cranes gathering and used to stand at the window looking out the glass.


“My wife did a business opposite ABA and Ben got to know them that way. Once he was a teenager he would get up at 5am or 6am, go to ABA and stay there all day. He knew everything about them.”


crane funeral procession for man who died
Photo credit: PA


Simon Ward, who worked for ABA Cranes, knew Ben well.


“Every day he would stand outside the gates, waiting for cranes to come back in,” he said. “He was always there, and now all of a sudden he’s not there. It’s really strange and quite sad.”


crane funeral procession for man who died
Photo credit: PA


Anne Baggott, director of ABA, said all of the drivers loved Ben.


“Ben would be there day after day. He knew every crane, knew all the drivers, he knew the different engine noises. He even had his bike painted in our green colors.


“It was his life. All of the drivers loved him. We always knew he was there. Everyone always stopped to talk to him and buy him an ice cream.”


crane funeral procession for man who died
Photo credit: PA


“He’d be there when the first crane came out and he’d still be there when the last crane came in at night,” ABA driver John Rowley said.


“I’d stand on the gate with him and we’d hear a crane coming and he’d say, ‘here comes Big Jim’. He knew the sound of every crane and the driver’s name.”


crane funeral procession for man who died
Photo credit: PA


crane funeral procession for man who died
Photo credit: PA


crane funeral procession for man who died
Photo credit: PA


ABA Crane Hire made a plaque for Ben which will be put up at the depot, mounted on the fence where Ben used to stand and greet everyone.



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