Tragic McRae and son share a single coffin

SIDE-by-side in a single coffin, Colin McRae and his son made their final journey together yesterday.

Sporting stars were among almost 200 friends and relatives to attend the funeral of the former world rally champion, who died in a helicopter crash with five-year-old son Johnny and two family friends.

Sir Jackie Stewart, the Formula One racing legend; the footballers Barry Ferguson and Ally McCoist; and Dario Franchitti, the IndyCar champion, were among the mourners.

The private service took place at Daldowie Crematorium, near Glasgow.

McRae and his son died after the sports star's helicopter crashed in Lanarkshire on 15 September.

Six-year-old Ben Porcelli, a friend of Johnny, also died in the crash, along with Graeme Duncan, 37, who lived in France and had gone to school with McRae.

Ben's parents, Mark and Karen, attended yesterday's service.

McRae's widow, Alison, and their daughter Hollie, nine, attended Ben's funeral earlier this week.

Mrs McRae was ashen-faced as she entered Daldowie's East Chapel clutching her daughter's hand.

She and Hollie each carried a single white rose.

Following the service, which lasted almost an hour, the rally driver's father Jimmy - a five-times British rallying champion - embraced mourners as they gathered outside the chapel.

The service was conducted by the Rev Tom Houston, who married McRae and his wife, and the Rev Steven Reid, Johnny's chaplain at Underbank Primary School in Lanark.

One of McRae's favourite songs, Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding, was played as the family entered the church.

An address was given by McRae's close friend and colleague, Robbie Head. It was followed by a rendition of Highland Cathedral by McRae's niece and nephews. The benediction was given by Mr Houston.

Mourners left the chapel to the Proclaimers' I'm On My Way.

A note on the Order of Service said: "Alison, Hollie and both families would like to thank everyone for their love, support and help throughout this tragedy."

The family asked mourners not to send flowers but instead to make donations to three charities, Make A Wish, the Brave Heart Children's Trust and the Children's Hospice Association of Scotland.

A public memorial ceremony will take place in the driver's home town of Lanark on Sunday. The church service will be shown on screens in the town centre, where thousands of locals are expected to turn out to pay their respects.

McRae - who became Britain's first rally world champion in 1995 - was flying the helicopter when it came down in the grounds of his Jerviswood home, a mile north of Lanark.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has launched an inquiry into the crash.

Mr Duncan's widow yesterday told how he made a last-minute decision to fly with McRae. Jennifer Duncan, 31, said her husband "lived life to the max right up until the last moment".

She said: "He didn't tell me he was planning to go in the helicopter - he just told me he and his friends were going out on the quad bikes.

"I think Colin had been planning to go up and Graeme decided to join him."

The couple have a ten-month-old son, Jake. She added: "Graeme was my rock, my sunshine and my life. I lived for him and a thousand words wouldn't be enough to describe him."

Mr Duncan, who studied engineering at Strathclyde University, will be buried tomorrow in Lanark.

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