Hearse service offers chance to take machinery passion to the grave

You can’t take it with you, but you can make your beloved tractor – or other vehicle – part of your final journey, thanks to 22-year-old Aaron Grew from Scotstown, on the Monaghan and Fermanagh border.

The former engineering student at IT Sligo came up with ‘My Hearse; My Way’ – a method of ensuring that machinery enthusiasts could bring their passion to the grave.

Aaron, who works with McAree Engineering in Co. Monaghan, had the idea two years ago for attaching a hearse trailer to a tractor or other vehicle, for funeral services.

Close to his heart

However, it was only when his grand-uncle, Hubert Rooney, passed away in January, that he got the chance to put it into practice.

“He was a farmer and dealt in machinery and tractors. He bought his 11th Massey Ferguson a year ago – it was the first tractor he ever purchased, 25 years ago,” he said.

Aaron’s revamped old Ford Granada, which he transformed into a hearse trailer, was attached to his grand-uncle’s first ‘Massey’ for his funeral.

The service, ‘My Hearse; My Way,’ is now being offered to people throughout the country. “Like all projects, it took longer than it should have had,” said tractor-mad Aaron.

I had seen a hearse incorporated into a trike for motorbikes but I hadn’t seen anything like that for tractors, lorries or diggers. I thought families would like to have a favourite vehicle being part of the funeral to make it a bit more personal.

“I’ve got a lot of positive feedback and I only set up a Facebook page two weeks ago. At this stage I’m just trying to get the word out there.”

A smile

“I will work in conjunction with undertakers – I’m not trying to do away with undertakers. I just felt the transportation side of things could be more personal and that the hearse could go behind a familiar vehicle,” he said.

“I’m not in this to make any mad fortune – if I can put a bit of a smile back on the faces of the bereaved families, it will be worth it.

Aaron explained that every time the hearse is used the family can choose a personal number-plate for the back. This could be the name of the deceased, the brand of vehicle doing the towing or whatever the family might find appropriate, he said.

“Maybe it could even be a catchphrase that the deceased would have used regularly,” the engineer added.

“It’s just another wee touch that makes the hearse slightly more personal and every funeral unique,” said Aaron.