A CHIMING ice cream van towed the coffin of a parish councillor’s teenage daughter to her village church funeral.

Lydia Cole, 18, used to work for M&M ice creams and the touching tribute of being escorted to Walford village church by three ice cream vans brought smiles and tears in equal measure, as mourners said farewell to the former Monmouth Comprehensive School pupil.

More than 150 family and friends remembered the young woman after the service with free ice-cream cones.

Her nieces, aged five and seven, also paid a moving tribute to the popular teen at the church, with a poem about their aunt.

Lydia, daughter of Walford parish councillor Simeon Cole and wife Sandra, died suddenly at her Coughton home on Wednesday, December 20, 18 months after an operation to help her cope with seizures.

Her coffin was decked with blue and white flowers, and last Thursday’s (January 11) service was told that she served up Mr Whippy ices in the summer with a cheeky sales patter.

As a farmer’s daughter, she was also a dab hand at driving diggers and tractors, and had loved racing her brother on their quad bikes.

The service heard she was known as ‘Deda’ because that’s how infant brother James had pronounced her name.

Richard Chinn and Angela Richardson gave a tribute to a “beautiful young lady” who “knew how to live life to the full.”

Lydia worked at Oak House Nursery School in Brampton Abbotts and achieved her level two healthcare qualification last year and was studying to obtain her level three.

She was also a member of Ross Air Training Corps 1002 Squadron, the Links Youth Fellowship in Monmouth and also worked at Pan Pizza in Ross.

Sister to Hannah, Rachel and James, her nieces Ellanor Llewellyn, seven, and Caitlyn, five, paid tribute with A Poem For Lydia, written by the former, with the first letter of each line spelling out her name.

The service heard she was treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Spire Little Aston Hospital in Birmingham and St Thomas’ in London after her seizures started at the age of 13, but remained “a determined young lady” who lived life to the full.

“Lydia will be remembered for her infectious laugh and beautiful smile. She loved nothing better than spending time with her friends,” said her eulogy.