Tank which took war veteran on his final journey donated to school playground

The pupils love their new plaything
25 May 2015 @ 9.45 am
| History

The pupils love their new plaything
The pupils love their new plaything. Photographs: Laverack family
It was built to take an old soldier on his final journey. But now this tank has a new lease of life as something for local schoolchildren to play on.

Wally Laverack had served with distinction in the tank regiment in the Second World War. When he died, aged 90, his family built a replica of a tank and placed Wally’s coffin inside as a tribute.

This is how he was transported to York Crematorium, in a unique cortège and funeral which son Matthew Laverack described as ‘a wonderful send-off’ for the man who later ran his own building firm in York.

Travelling in style… no hearse, but a Laverack Joinery flat bed transit
The unusual ‘hearse’ – a flatbed truck with Wally’s coffin in the tank
Wally's Cromwell tank and four of the crew. Wally is not in the photo – he's thought to be taking the picture
Wally’s Cromwell tank and four of the crew. Wally is not in the photo – he’s thought to be taking the picture

New lease of life

The family always wanted the tank to live on as an addition to a school playground. And now they have donated it to Sutton on Derwent Primary School.

The school were offered first refusal because Wally’s granddaughter, Kirsty Garcia, is a teacher there. She spoke at his funeral.

The children get to grips with their new toy. Photographs: Laverack family
The children get to grips with their new toy
All aboard!
All aboard!
York businessman Matthew said:

The school snapped up the offer.

They are studying the war period and have created a woodland outside area with an Anderson shelter just like people had in their back gardens to protect from bomb blasts.

The tank sits under trees in this area and the kids love climbing all over it.