PADDY Doherty has today told of his agony over the loss of his “one in a billion” nephew a year on from his death.
The My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star also revealed he “feels sorry” for the driver involved in the fatal crash – which killed Mikey Connors, 32.
Paddy Doherty was emotional during the memorial to his nephew Mikey Connors[/caption]
Mikey’s family released doves as they remembered him a year on from his death[/caption]
Paddy showed off the tattoo he got to remember his ‘favourite’ nephew[/caption]
The cart racing champ was killed alongside one of his horses on the A2016 in south east London last July.
Today more than 100 mourners gathered to remember the dad-of-two, 32, at Epsom Cemetery near the racecourse that hosts the Derby in Surrey.
Speaking ahead of the event, Paddy, 60, who won Celebrity Big Brother 2011, said: “I’m just thinking like it happened yesterday.
“My sister is devastated, all the family are. It’s bad, you’ll see the crowd here, everyone is devastated over this.
“Mikey was a great man. He was an all rounder. He was a worker, he was a horseman and a gentleman as well.”
A red carpet lined with photographs of Mikey led to a table filled with gold-coloured bottles of Harrods Moet champagne for his anniversary memorial.
Next to the table were 17 white seats for close family facing a shrine to Mikey.
An Irish flag was flying at the head of carpet for VIPs with red banners on either side reading, “VIP, Sir Michael Connors, Go big or go home.”
He was more than one in a billion, he was one in a trillion. There will never be a Connors who will be like Mikey.
Mikey’s six-year-old trotter stallion attended the ceremony with a red cover across its back with the same words.
He was then ridden out of the cemetery to Epsom race course by Mikey’s brother, Simey, as the ceremony ended and champagne toasts were made.
Billy Budd, 31, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and destruction of property, in respect to the horse called Tony Montana who was also killed in the fatal collision, when he appeared at Southwark Crown Court earlier this month.
He said: “He [Budd] didn’t mean to do it. It was just a bad accident, it was a bad day and things went pear-shaped, he’s got to live with that.
“That poor man, he’s got to live with what he’s done, I feel sorry for him.
“You wouldn’t wish that on your worst enemy.”
This afternoon Mikey’s mother and five sisters wore red as a priest gave a reading commemorating the anniversary next to the shrine surrounded by red flowers and heart-shaped balloons.
Dozens of bottles of champagne covered a table with a Harrods’ tablecloth[/caption]
Connors’ father Patrick wipes a tear from his eye during the memorial[/caption]
His family released white doves following a short service as members of the traveller community gathered at Epsom cemetery[/caption]
Simey, Mikey’s brother, with champion trotting horse Big Taffy[/caption]
His headstone was surrounded by flowers as mourners came to remember him[/caption]
Mikey’s mum Mary holds a picture of her late son as she sports a red scarf in memory of her son[/caption]
A photo of Mikey sat on a gold thrown among roses and more pictures of the late cart racer[/caption]
Paddy said one of Mikey’s cousins, who also loved horse racing, was buried in the cemetery and pointed to the Epsom race course.
He said: “That’s why we put them here because we are always in Epsom, every year.
“Even the horse game has gone downhill since he’s gone because of the tragedy – every traveller in the world it has affected.
“There was a horse competition in Dublin in January just for him, because he was popular, he was a legend.
“He was more than one in a billion, he was one in a trillion.
“There will never be a Connors who will be like Mikey.
“I will always love Mikey, he’s my favourite nephew. I got a tattoo of it when he died.”
Paddy, wearing a smart grey suit and cravat, unbuttoned his left shirt sleeve to reveal his forearm tattoo tribute to Mikey.
Last year more than 2,000 people arrived for Mikey’s funeral at Ashtead, Surrey.
Mourners then travelled to Epsom racecourse and blocked off the road with their Range Rovers, waving on local traffic, to hold a horse and trap race before the burial.
The suited travellers raced their traps up and down the road yelling “go on, Mikey Connors” and “this is how we send Mikey off!” as the horses hurtled along the road.
Tragic Mikey – a lookalike for his famous TV uncle Paddy – was revered as a champion horse trainer who ran a stud farm near to his burial place.
At the time of his death a family friend told The Sun Online: “Mikey was such a hard-working man.
“He was a very loyal family man and he will be greatly missed.”
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Judge Korner released Budd on bail prior to his sentencing next month. He was disqualified from driving until his sentence.
Budd – whose address was not given in court – admitted one count of causing death by careless driving and destruction of property.
He was bailed ahead of sentence at Southwark Crown Court on 16 August.
Mourners sat on white chairs at the cemetery as they remembered Mikey[/caption]
Paddy today described his agony as he relived the year without his nephew[/caption]
Mikey’s sisters were all dressed in red suits for the memorial today[/caption]
His sisters and their mother Mary, right, with his record-breaking horse Big Taffy[/caption]
Mikey was a keen horse racer and trainer and was well-known in the community[/caption]
Thousands turned up last year for Mikey’s funeral service in Surrey[/caption]
Mikey’s mum Mary Connors tearfully holds up a picture of her son last year[/caption]
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