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The horse-drawn carriage carrying the coffin of Olga Franklin arrives at St Stephen's Church, Acomb, York
A STRIKING funeral cortege brought traffic to a halt as mourners followed the coffin of a much-loved mother-of-five in a Victorian horse-drawn carriage.
Olga Franklin - the former wife of Len Franklin, one of the country's first victims of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) - died last week at the age of 64.
Yesterday, a beautiful glass carriage, drawn by two white horses with plumes, carried the coffin from her home in Murray Street to nearby St Stephen's Church, in Acomb, York.
After the funeral service, her family released white doves and 200 white helium balloons into the skies above the city.
Her son, Colin Cain, a joint-partner of Otisdale Estate Agents with his brother Michael, said: "It is very rare to get a woman so special as my mum and we wanted to give her a good send off.
"We have filmed it all for her grandchildren and great grandchildren to remember her by in the future." Following the death of her former husband in February 1996, Mrs Franklin became well-known for the public support she gave other families of CJD victims.
An inquest into Mr Franklin's death decided he died of a strain of CJD that was unconnected to Mad Cow Disease (BSE) in cattle.
But his family always maintained that the former abattoir worker was killed by the new variant of CJD, thought to be caused by contact with BSE-infected cattle or beef.
In 1998, they were supported by an expert on the diseases, Dr Harash Narang.
Following an examination of both his behaviour and samples of his brain tissue, Dr Harash said he was convinced Mr Franklin did die of new variant CJD.
He said he also believed that contact with cattle at the abattoir might have been to blame.
Mr Cain said: "To the day she died, my mum was totally convinced that it was Mad Cow Disease that killed him.
"She felt like the Government was trying to cover things up - that's why she went on national TV to speak about it."
Mrs Franklin was diagnosed with lung cancer in July, when she was given only six months to live by doctors.
Mr Cain said: "The respect that my mother had from everybody she knew was so strong. She was just a very genuine, honest and hard-working woman. Christmas was a very emotional time for us because we knew it would be her last one. We miss her already."
* The Press was invited to the funeral.