Hundreds of travellers attended the funeral of TV personality and former Flintshire man Paddy Doherty’s father.

Mourners joined the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Celebrity Big Brother star to say goodbye to Simon Doherty, remembered as the “father of all travellers”, at a service at St Michael’s Church in Ashtead, Surrey.

More than a dozen silver Rolls Royces, each bearing the Irish tricolour, lined up outside the church. Mr Doherty’s coffin was emblazoned with the colours of the Irish flag and the message: “Simon Doherty – Blacksmith, King of all Doherty’s.”

Paddy Doherty, who used to live in Garden City, said: “He was like Mafia in his own way, not in a bad way, any trouble they would go to him.

“He was like the godfather, what he said was law. He said I want no-one crying at my funeral, I want them happy, singing and get them drunk.”

The 58-year-old former bare knuckle fighter sat with his hand resting on his father’s coffin throughout the service and tributes, which included video footage of Mr Doherty senior in a horse race and a group of Irish dancers.

“He wasn’t an average man, he was outstanding, a great man,” he added. “Everything had to be five stars for him, he lived the best and was the best. My poor mother, her heart is devastated, her heart is broken.

“I’m so grateful how many people have turned out, we just want everything to go well, everything has to be tremendous and over the top.”

Close family members wore red ties, Mr Doherty’s favourite colour, which they will throw into his grave. Floral tributes were laid on the altar in the shape of an Irish shamrock, bottles of whiskey, pint of Guinness and a Rolls Royce. Mr Doherty’s coffin was driven away in a silver Rolls Royce hearse.

Thousands of mourners were expected to attend a procession through north London after the service.