HUNDREDS of people lined the streets to pay tribute to gentle giant John ‘Plommy’ Plom.

Roughly 600 family, friends and colleagues from the New Holland tractor plant in Basildon attended.

Plommy spent 46 years working at the factory before retiring at the start of the year.

Plommy, of Corringham, turned 65 in January, and his brother, Andy, said: “He enjoyed his working life, but didn’t get to enjoy his retirement as he deserved.”

A family man, Plommy remained close to his four sisters, brother, two daughters and two “lovely grandchildren” throughout his life.

The funeral was held at St Margaret’s Church, in Stanford-le-Hope.

The family were deeply touched by the giant turnout and a funeral procession with a difference.

A host of brightly coloured tractors followed the procession from the tractor plant which had become like a second home.

Andy said: “He was a gentle giant.

“He may have looked intimidating, but he was a caring man.

“He loved his family, his friends, his colleagues and his job.

“The church was full and the streets outside were packed.

“We all knew how well loved he was, but it did mean a lot to see. There were some people there who left the tractor plant 20 years ago but came to pay tribute to him.

“That says it all about Plommy really.”

One former colleague left a touching message that read: “It was a privilege to be at the send off for John. I arrived at 10:45 and there was already a lot of people.

“Having so many people at a funeral is normally the preserve of sports people or entertainers.

“Celebrities in the public eye that people can relate to and have affection for. So it is with John.

“A lot of us were having to swallow hard as we heard the eulogies. I didn’t work closely with John but he helped me a lot. The common ground for us both was that the plant and New Holland wasn’t a job, it was a way of life we were committed to along with our families. He was a gruff old bear who was always good to his word and straight talking.

“We need more more like John, we will miss him. You are privileged to be flesh and blood with him. Condolences for your loss.”