Northern humour is no respecter of time or place. Recently, the advancing age of the ECF’s original members has led to more frequent use of a black tie among the fraternity.
Is the ghost of Mike Sutcliffe wandering restlessly after his last wish went awry? The funeral route from church to crematorium took in a section of M62. In his last testament, he requested the ECF choose a suitable hearse so that, during his last journey, he could once again exceed 100mph. Much time was spent quizzing funeral directors in the North-West; finally one was found who reckoned he could deliver. But despite giving normal traffic a never-to-be-forgotten moment, the hearse managed only 98mph.
No such problems of speed for Phil Simister. At his funeral service, the six pallbearers chosen from ECF’s senior ranks had great difficulty manoeuvring the heavy coffin into the church. They came back out again, puffing and staggering, to discover the burial site was at the furthest and highest end of the churchyard. As they grimly set off up this grave-dotted Everest, a voice was heard from underneath the coffin: “By gum, Phil. I knew you said you were going to take it with you, but not in half-crowns.”