Cabbies' convoy takes to Port Talbot streets in tribute to driver pal
CABBIES have taken to the streets of Port Talbot to pay their last respects to a popular taxi driver who was affectionately known as Orville.
Christopher Keith Harris, known as Keith — but also as Orville due to him sharing his name with ventriloquist Keith Harris — died of bowel cancer on October 10 at Swansea's Ty Olwen Hospice.
The 56-year-old was the former vice-chairman of Port Talbot Taxi Drivers Association and had been a taxi driver for around 20 years.
To pay tribute to Mr Harris, scores of taxi drivers gathered for the funeral, which took place yesterday. A procession of around 50 vehicles set off from the Apollo Cinema car park on the seafront, with drivers making their way to Margam Crematorium for the service.
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Because of his Orville nickname, there was a wreath of the green duck in his memory, as well as family flowers placed inside the hearse.
The service heard that for 24 years Mr Harris, who lived in Coronation House, Bevin Avenue, Sandfields, with his wife Catherine, had been a forklift driver before he became a taxi driver.
As well as enjoying fishing and boxing, he was known to crack jokes and he loved singing.
Chairman of the Port Talbot Taxi Drivers Association, Mike Allen, said: "Keith always tried to help everyone.
"He was an all round decent, hard- working chap.
"He was very well thought of. I am honoured to have called him my friend. He was a good guy."
Mr Allen added the association wanted to thank South Wales Police for their assistance with the convoy through the town.
"It was very much appreciated," he said.
Tony Harris, from Cwmavon Cabs, said: "Keith was the sort of guy who would help anyone.
"I have known him on and off for nine years. He was a great character.
"He loved his music and loved playing it loud.
"It is nice that quite a few of us have paid tribute to him. It is nice to see a good turnout.
"All the cars have been washed especially. We had to make an effort."
Former chairman of the Port Talbot Taxi Drivers Association, Robert Williams, said: "He was always cracking jokes. He was a good man."
Fellow Port Talbot taxi driver Alan Thomas added: "He will be sorely missed by all the taxi drivers."
It had been Mr Harris's request for people to wear bright colours at the funeral and donations were requested to be made to Ty Olwen in lieu of flowers.