A Clifton Village pub has responded to social media posts about crowds during a funeral cortege.
A procession was held for Barry Yuille, who owned Park Street’s La Bon Auberge restaurant, after his death from cancer at the age of 71.
Around 50 people lined the street as Mr Yuille’s cortege passed through The Mall at around 12pm yesterday (May 21) on its way to a funeral service at Canford.
There was then a series of posts on social media complaining of a “street party” amid the coronavirus pandemic, with some people saying they had reported the gathering.
But Bristol Live has spoken to witnesses who say those in attendance observed social distancing and paid their respects in a responsible way.
The Brunel pub, in The Mall, responded to social media claims it had been selling drinks during the event.
‘All distancing guidelines were met’
A pub spokesperson said: “The Brunel was most definitely not open. It is amazing the negative things people see in times of absolute love and tenderness.
“The Brunel offered takeaway drinks free of charge, as long as they were drunk whilst correctly social distancing within Government guidelines, for people who were invited to stand on the Mall and clap as the body of a dear friend of Clifton was [driven past].
“I was present and I was very happy that all distancing guidelines were met. I’m sure there will be a few cases where there is closer contact between families who are probably self-isolating together.
“I would just like to say that people should sometimes look at other scenarios before jumping on pictures and assuming negative connotations.
“It is a tough time at the moment, that’s for sure, but some people only have one opportunity to grieve and show emotions properly, so it’s a shame that wasn’t understood by those passing by.”
‘It certainly wasn’t a street party’
(Image: Bristol Live)
Spencer Price, a friend of Mr Yuille, says everyone was responsible in keeping two metres apart.
He said: “I was only there 15 to 20 minutes waiting for the coffin to come past. It all dispersed pretty quickly.
“We couldn’t go to the funeral because of coronavirus. It’s quite sad that someone has got the audacity to complain.
“It was bad enough we couldn’t congregate at the funeral. It certainly wasn’t a street party – it was a send-off.”
Mr Yuille added a Southmead Hospital nurse who attended the event was satisfied with the way people behaved.
He says she told him: “Everyone’s keeping their distance. Everyone’s aware [of the restrictions].
“Of course it was an emotional event because Barry was a great friend to so many people.”
‘It was a celebration’
One man, who was not a mourner but was in the area at the time, said he had no concerns over the gathering.
The witness, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Some people may have been a little closer together, but they may well have been from the same household.
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“I wouldn’t describe it as raucous. It wasn’t deadly solemn or madly exuberant. It was a celebration. I didn’t have any concerns.”
You can read our tribute to the much-loved Mr Yuille here.