Trucks fill Dudley streets for final farewell to organ donor campaigner

A convoy of trucks hit the road in tribute after the death of an organ donation charity campaigner.

Trucks join the funeral procession for Rachel Day, inset
Trucks join the funeral procession for Rachel Day, inset

Rachel Day had a liver transplant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on Christmas Day in 2006, but her illness meant her body began to reject the organ years later.

Her organs started failing three years ago, and although King’s College London placed her on their waiting list for surgery, the pandemic caused further delays which meant she could not get a transplant in time.

Before her death she and her husband Andrew Day had regularly campaigned for awareness over organ donations.

The Kingswinford Charity Truck Convoy began in 2014 to raise awareness of the need for more organ donors and fundraise for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Liver Fund Trust.

The convoy saying goodbye to Rachel.
The Lady Rachel was among the trucks
The truck named after Rachel Day with a special tribute from husband Andrew Day.

Lorry drivers from as far away as Bristol would join the charity events.

And on Wednesday, after years of charity events, the trucking community rallied round to say a final goodbye to 46-year-old Rachel, from Dudley.

A convoy of trucks, motorcyclists, and a horse and carriage filled the streets of the town ahead of a service at Sandwell Crematorium.

Husband Andrew said: “I was overwhelmed by how many people turned up to support Rachel. I wasn’t expecting that. People lined the streets.”

Rachel's husband Andrew gets a hug from his son
Flowers left by loved ones

Mr Day said the lorry drivers were “like a community” and they told him that for the funeral “you’re going in our trucks”.

The truck convoy events the couple ran will continue in her memory, after friends and family told the 48-year-old he had “got to do it” and carry the legacy on.

The fundraiser, who helped raise money for various charities, died on August 16 from organ failure and leaves behind a husband, four children, and six grandchildren.

The husband and wife pair also used to make truck convoy calendars to raise money for the charities Yes I Donate and Be A Hero.

One of the trucks which was a part of the funeral procession was the Lady Rachel, named after the campaigner.

The convoy driving through the streets of Dudley
A photo of Rachel was propped up in the hearse

It featured a tribute from Andrew draped across the front with a printing of the couple next to the words: "I loved you yesterday and I love you still, I always have – I always will."

Loved ones also released balloons into the bright morning sky in her memory.

And the funeral flowers including messages which spelled out ‘wife’, ‘daughter’, and ‘mommy’, as well as a bouquet made up to show the logo of the band Take That which Rachel was a big fan of.

A donation box collected funds for Mary Stevens Hospice, in Stourbridge, which provides care to patients with incurable and life-limiting illnesses, along with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital's Liver Fund Trust.

After the service, a wake was held at Coseley Working Men's Club where Rachel's life was celebrated.

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