Exmouth comes to a standstill to remember much-loved town crier Garth Gibson

EXMOUTH came to a standstill on Friday to celebrate the life of its 'irreplaceable' town crier, Garth Gibson.

EXMOUTH came to a standstill on Friday to celebrate the life of its 'irreplaceable' town crier, Garth Gibson.

Thousands of people stood in silent tribute to Garth, who first rang the bell for the town in 2000, lining the streets of Exmouth as a horse-drawn funeral cortege took the much-loved town crier on his final visit around the town he loved.

Hundreds packed into the Holy Trinity Church for a personal, moving and unique service to remember Garth and his zest for life.

East Devon MP Hugo Swire was among the dignitaries who paid their final respects to Garth.

A television screen and speakers broadcast the event to those standing outside in the church grounds.

The Exmouth Shanty Men, of which Garth was a member, led the funeral procession into church.

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The service was led by The Reverend Martin John Nicholls - a personal friend and fellow Shanty Man.

Youngsters from Marpool Primary School sang a moving rendition

of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Garth's nephew professor Andrew Gibson had the congregation laughing and crying in equal parts with amusing and poignant tales of his Uncle Garth - who dropped him on his head as a baby and had a car that used to 'smell beer'.

Granddaughter Jo Gibson talked about Garth the family man, and spoke about the love he had for his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Exmouth town clerk John Wokersien spoke about Garth's 'irreplacable' role within the town and the love and dedication he gave to taking up the mantle of town crier.

When Garth left Exmouth for the final time, town criers from across the region attending the service rang their bells and waved their caps to honour him.

The Exmouth RNLI crew and his Shanty Men friends formed a guard of honour as the hearse carrying him slipped from sight to a private family service at Exeter Crematorium.

* See the Journal on Thursday June 18 for a full report.

* Visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk on Monday June 15 and see a video of the event.