TRIBUTES have been paid to a York veteran who drove a tank on the front line in the Second World War and had his own "tank" at his funeral.

Wallace "Wally" William Laverack, died on April 14 aged 90, and 70 years ago drove a Cromwell Tank in the British Army in the closing stages of the war.

His son, city architect, Matthew Laverack said, at his funeral at York Crematorium on Monday (April 27) in tribute to his wartime service, his coffin was carried on the back of a truck in a mock up of a British tank.

It was designed and built by his sons, Matthew and Robert with most of the bespoke bench joinery work done by grandson Sam Laverack.

Matthew said: "As a tribute to him, his children arranged a "hands on" family funeral at York Crematorium. No vicar. No funeral director. No hearse. We did it all ourselves in our own special way. The truck was a flat bed used by the family firm Laverack Joinery Ltd.

"The coffin was inside the tank with a Union Jack flag over the coffin in respect of an old soldier who fought for this country and the freedom we all enjoy today.

"The day was a fitting tribute to an old soldier and it seemed entirely appropriate as we approach the seventieth anniversary of VE Day."

At the crematorium Matthew and his sister Jane walked in front of the slow moving vehicle while Wally's other sons Wallace, Geoff, Harry and Robert walked behind along with son-in-law Alf Pickering.

The coffin was removed from the back of the "tank" and carried in to the crematorium chapel on the shoulders of Wally's five sons and his son-in-law.

Matthew said: "It was a moving experience. Not at all your usual funeral. Jane led the procession carrying a single white wreath which was placed on top of the Union Jack draped coffin."

Wally was born at 98, Layerthorpe on June 20, 1924 and ran a successful building business. He married Mary Frogatt in October 1945, they had five sons and one daughter. The couple lived variously in Newborough Street, Hawthorne Grove and in 1969 Wally built his own house in Hawthorn Street. He retired in and Mary died in 1986.

Matthew said: "He enjoyed his final years and lived to see many grandchildren, great grandchildren and even a great great grandchild. He made many new friends and went on a number of foreign holidays.

"His sons took him on a pilgrimage to the battlefields in Europe, which he enjoyed thoroughly."

A funeral collection in his memory raised £432 for Dementia UK.