DOZENS of Mini Coopers performed a tribute lap of Fair Havens as drivers paid their respects to a car enthusiast who lost her battle with cancer.

Julie Necker spent five days at Fair Havens before she passed away on February 19 from ovarian cancer at the age of 53 - after a three-year battle with the illness.

After her funeral on Friday, 32 Minis did a tribute lap in Julie’s honour.

Julie’s husband, Paul, has paid tribute to his “happy-go-lucky” wife who was “loved by everyone”.

Paul and Julie were married for ten years after meeting on a blind date.

Echo: Julie and PaulJulie and Paul

Their joint love for classic cars saw the pair travelling to car shows up and down the country and becoming a big part of the classic car community.

A total of 32 Minis took part as drivers arrived to pay their respects.

Speaking about his loving wife, Paul said: “It was unbelievable. I organised it, but I didn’t know how many there was going to be.

“To have 32 turn up was unbelievable.

“We went from my house in Benfleet, along the seafront because she loved the seafront. Then they went to Southend crematorium and did a lap of honour round Fair Havens.”


Paul remembered his “special” wife as a “true inspiration”.

He said: “She made me what I am today. She never moaned about anything at all, even in her last six months of having cancer.

“She was just loved by everybody.

“She was a massive part of the car community. “She will be well and truly missed. She was just a joy to be with. She was my life.”

Paul had planned to start a classic car business before Julie’s diagnosis.

He’s now building a Mini in memory of his beloved wife.

Paul said: “I built a left-hand drive Mini to take her round Italy this year, but that’s not going to happen now.

“I promised her I would build her another Mini before she died, so that’s what we’re going to do for her.”

Thanking Fair Havens, Paul added: “They were perfect. They did everything for her. They were truly amazing.”