Tributes paid to Long Walk horse-drawn carriage driver

David Lee

David Lee

The founder of a horse-drawn carriage service in Windsor who brought joy to newlyweds, tourists and sightseers with unique rides through Windsor Great Park has passed away.

After years of determination, fuelled by a love of driving horses, John Seear turned Orchard Poyle Carriage Hire, operators of Windsor Carriages, into one of the town’s top attractions.

But after a short battle with illness, he passed away at the age of 77 on Saturday, May 14.

John’s love affair with horse-drawn carriages first began at the age of 10 when he took his first trip from Windsor Castle down the Long Walk for just 15 shillings.

He struck up a friendship with his driver George Paget, one of the 12 remaining Hackney Carriage drivers in the town.

The pair remained friends and when George retired in 1974, he left his Landau carriage and licence to Englefield Green resident John who took up the reigns himself.

Since 1994 Windsor Carriages has been the only Hackney Carriage business licensed to take people on historic drives up the Long Walk.

And with John’s daughter Rebecca helping to drive the horses in recent years, the business has very much remained in the family.

Recalling the 77-year-old’s love for the job, John’s ex-wife Tissie Reason told the Express he always had a favoured joke for brides riding the carriage on their wedding day.

She said: “He used to say to the brides ‘do you want to go to the church or the station?’

“I don’t think many of them took him up on the second offer.”

John, who grew up in Burnham, was a valued member of the Windsor Horse Trials Committee and co-organiser for Smiths Lawn and Newbury Horse Trials.

He also sat on the Windsor Park Equestrian Club Committee and played a key role organising many of the driving events in Windsor Great Park.

He leaves behind three daughters, Rebecca, Camilla and Melissa, his son Andrew and three grandchildren Lydia, Zachary and Jamie.

His funeral was held in The Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park on Thursday.

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