Family, friends and peers pay tribute to a much-loved Kenilworth resident who was known for his dedication, his smile and his jokes

A large procession of Severn Trent vehicles followed the hearse and family cars to the crematorium

A large procession and service was held for a much-loved Kenilworth resident who was known for his smile and his jokes.

Ian Coop, who lived with his family in Beauchamp Road, died on September 21 aged 54.

He had been diagnosed with cancer last year.

Ian Coop with his dog Herbie. Photo supplied

Ian had grown up in Warwick and went to Newburgh and Westgate schools in the town.

He joined the army when he was 16 and served in the Royal Artillery. He served for five years.

Ian then went on to work for Severn Trent and held several different roles there for 25 years.

On Wednesday October 13 a procession made up of Severn Trent vehicles travelled from Ian's home in Kenilworth to Canley Crematorium.

Ian's Severn Trent peers gathered with their vehicles ahead of the procession through Kenilworth. Photo supplied

His family and friends said they were deeply moved by the procession and the service.

Joy Coop, Ian's mother, said: "I have never seen anything like it before.

"It was amazing and Severn Trent put on a show - they even had a Landrover with his name and face on it.

"All the Severn Trent vehicles were lined up outside the house and they followed us all the way to the crematorium. We even had a police escort.

The Severn Trent Landrover - similar to the one Ian used to drive for his job - which had been personalised for the procession in his honour. Photo supplied

"It was absolutely wonderful and even at the chapel there were hundreds of people waiting.

"They had a bugler play the Last Post as they took his coffin in.

"Ian would have been laughing his head off at all this. He was known for his smile and making jokes - everyone loved him - which showed by how many people were there.

"The service was beautifully done with a recording of Ian's youngest daughter Holly singing with a friend and his eldest daughter Bethany read out a piece she wrote.

Ian's peers from Severn Trent gathered before the procession through Kenilworth. Photo supplied

"His best friend Chris - who he had known since he was eight - also spoke at the service and it made us all smile.

"On his coffin was his beret from the Royal Artillery and a Royal Artillery flag which was brought up from Blackpool by one of Ian's friends.

"Ian always said he didn't want a fuss but he deserved it - he really was loved. It was like a royal funeral."

Chris Biddle, Ian's childhood friend, said: "It was an amazing send off for Ian.

"I think there were around 30 Severn Trent vehicles - they were all lined up like a guard of honour outside his house.

"It was a really nice service and it was jovial as well, which was good.

"Ian would have been amazed, humbled and proud at that day."

Fraser Pithie, who hired and worked with Ian at Severn Trent said: "Last week was a very sad affair. Ian was an exceptional person.

"I interviewed him for the job at Severn Trent and I was his manager for some time. He was always jovial and looked on the bright side of life but he also showed a dedication and dependability that you rarely see these days.

"Ian Coop could always be relied upon to get any job done and crucially done well. He rightly enjoyed high esteem among his colleagues and over the 42 years since I started work at Severn Trent and from which I retired some nine years ago I have never witnessed anything like last week.

"His peers all stood in front of a line up of their vehicles taking their hats off and then following in a procession.

"The fact that such a tribute had all been arranged by Ian's peers says it all and I don't think any recognition can surpass the esteem his colleagues decided to show.

"Ian was a very dedicated man who wanted a good career but also to have a great family life and he certainly succeeded."

"It is also important to acknowledge the partners of those who work at Severn Trent and the support they give. I know that Jo, Ian's wife, was very supportive of him as his role meant he worked unsocial hours and did all that was involved in keeping customers taps running 24/7.

"His job was an important part of his life and so was his lovely family.

"He leaves behind a legacy - one he clearly wanted to achieve. He wanted people to always smile like he always did, for people to enjoy every day of their lives and the service last week showed just how many people his life touched.

"We are all better people for having been blessed with knowing Ian Coop."

Ian leaves behind his wife Joanne and his two daughters Holly and Bethany.