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Diana Barrington-Scott

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Leonard Birtles’ funeral will feature 25 American muscle cars

A mother who appealed online for “anyone with an American Muscle car” to drive in her son’s funeral procession has been “overwhelmed” by the response.

Leonard Birtles, 20, from Shepton Mallett, died suddenly on 24 September after a number of epileptic seizures.

After a Facebook appeal, the family received hundreds of messages and were offered at least 25 cars.

Diana Barrington-Scott, said her car-obsessed son was “going out loud in a way that puts a smile on your face”.

At the end of September, Ms Barrington-Scott, from Taunton, Somerset, posted on Facebook asking if anyone with a high-performance American car “would be kind enough to drive with my son’s funeral”.

She said he absolutely loved cars, especially the Ford Mustang.

Within days of the appeal the post was shared thousands of times worldwide and the family was “overwhelmed” with offers.

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Despite only wanting one muscle car in the cortege, Ms Love said it has “ballooned” to 25.

“He was obsessed with cars. He always wanted to be a mechanic,” she said.

“He would be in awe of the funeral, he wouldn’t believe it would be happening.”

Ms Barrington-Scott, said when her son developed epilepsy at the age of 13 it “put a stop to his dream of owning a driving licence”.

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Diana Barrington-Scott

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Leonard (left) pictured with his brother and a Lamborghini Superleggera was “obsessed” with cars

“Nothing prepares you to receive such a response. It’s totally overwhelming,” she said.

“But there was nothing about Leonard that was small or quiet. Everything about him was loud, but definitely the cars – you can’t get any louder than them.

“We’re strangely feeling quite excited because we know he’d be pretty excited.”

The funeral is due to take place at Taunton crematorium.

You may also be interested in:

What is a ‘muscle car’?

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Getty Images

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Ford marked 50 years of Mustangs by placing one at the top of the Empire State Building

Muscle car is a general term for small but extremely powerful cars.

They were mostly built in America in the 1960s and 1970s, and were designed for racing at the same time as being road legal.

Muscle cars declined in the 1970s when concerns over pollution and comfort led manufacturers to design more fuel efficient cars.


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