Large crowds expected to bid farewell to Wolverhampton mayor Elias Mattu
The widow of Elias Mattu has called for as many people as possible to pay their respects to the former city Mayor at his funeral tomorrow.
Mayoress Asha Mattu said the family had been inundated with tributes since her husband died last month, aged 59.
She said today: "We have been so moved and comforted by the enormous amount of tributes to Elias since he passed away.
"He touched so many lives here in the city of Wolverhampton and further afield.
"He dedicated his life to public service and making things better for people regardless of their background.
"We are anticipating that many people will wish to come and pay their respects at his funeral.
"It would mean a great deal to us as a family to see as many people as possible to join us to say farewell to his wonderful man who loved Wolverhampton so much."
The service will take place at St Peter’s Church in the city centre at 11am. As space inside the church is limited, it will be shown live on a big screen in St Peter's Square.
It will be preceded by a funeral procession, led by a horse and carriage carrying Mr Mattu's coffin.
The cortège will start at Mr Mattu's home in Penn Fields, travel into the city centre via the Ring Road and Darlington Street, before entering North Street and Cheapside.
A minute's silence will be held at 10.30am.
Councillor Roger Lawrence, the leader of Wolverhampton Council, said: “Elias Mattu was a true man of the people, representing the ward where he grew up and remained his home.
“He was a loyal, proud and caring family man who worked tirelessly for our city’s diverse communities.
"People warmed to him because of his natural charm, impeccable manners and of course it was all delivered with that trademark smile.
“Tomorrow our city will come together to remember Elias and say goodbye to someone who will never be forgotten.”
The Mattu family has asked for no flowers and that donations are made to Mr Mattu’s Mayoral charities, which are: Acorns Hospice, Street Pastors, Sickle Cell Care, Interfaith Wolverhampton, the Alzheimer's Society and Wolverhampton Central Youth Theatre.
A number of road closures will be in place to facilitate the funeral.
Cheapside, Exchange Street and Lich Gates will all be closed for 24 hours, while there will be shorter term closures on other roads including Lichfield Street and Queen Square.