The roar of ancient engines filled a Costessey street yesterday lunchtime as friends and the family of a classic car enthusiast said their last goodbye.

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A Chevrolet, Cadillac and a Dodge were among a dozen classic cars which gathered in Grove Avenue for the funeral of Julian Secker.

The normally sombre cortege was replaced by a golden 1968 Dodge Coronet which carried the 59-year-old’s body on one final run down the A47 before heading to Earlham Crematorium.

Mr Secker, a self-employed welder, planned his funeral at the start of December after finding out he had liver cancer.

He was given four to six weeks to live and died on Wednesday, December 19. His wife of 32 years Dawn, 56, said: “It was a terrible shock. He knew he didn’t have long to live.

“He didn’t want to go in a hearse and asked his mate if he could use his station wagon.”

She added: “He was fun-loving and game for a laugh. He liked to be in his workshop.

“If I couldn’t find him he would be in somebody else’s garage.” Mr Secker spent years building a Rover from scratch and yesterday his son Matthew drove the car in his father’s memory.

The convoy of cars followed the Dodge up Grove Avenue and onto Dereham Road before heading onto the A47 and then towards Earlham Crematorium.

Matthew, who took over his father’s welding business, said: “Towards the end he was very weak but he still wanted to be out and about and doing things.”

Two weeks before his death Mr Secker went to London with his wife to see Warhorse.

They also caught the Phantom of the Opera performance at Ormiston Victory Academy.

Friend and neighbour Diddy Moxon said: “Julian was a car enthusiast. He liked to go for a blast up the bypass whenever we went anywhere. He didn’t want a sombre occasion.”

Mr Secker, who had two children, Matthew and Tracy and two grandchildren, was born and brought up in Norwich and became a welder after working off-shore.

He was planning to retire this year and died a month before his birthday.

Friend and fellow car enthusiast Roy Nash who lived opposite Mr Secker said: “He would do anything for anyone. He was very helpful.”

Do you have a story about Costessey for the Evening News? Contact reporter Tom Bristow on 01603772313 or email tom.bristow@archant.co.uk.

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