HUNDREDS of people turned out to pay their respects at the funeral of the founder of Wimborne Folk Festival on Monday.

A celebration of Brian Bisp’s life was held at Poole Crematorium off Gravel Hill which saw scores of Morris dancers follow his hearse as it was driven up to the chapel.

The 79-year-old – husband to wife, Maria – died on Friday, February 6, and Geoff Knapman, bagman and secretary of the Bourne River Morris Men, said: “An awful lot of people knew Brian so we were hoping for a huge turnout.

“I always said that he was the best bagman and secretary of the group that we ever had.”

Hymns played during the packed service, which had standing room only, included Lord of the Dance and Jerusalem with people leaving to Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Eva Cassidy.

Brian was a former member of Wimborne’s Royal British Legion and in 2003, he was presented with a lifetime achievement award at a special ceremony for East Dorset District Council’s community awards for his work to create Wimborne Folk Festival, which he ran until 2012.

He later took up a hobby of creating model miniature armoured Second World War vehicles and built a track for steam locomotives in the snug of his home.

However in 2004, he suffered a major stroke, which left him using a wheelchair to get around.

Keith Budd, another member of the group, paid tribute during the service by saying: “I met Brian 16 years ago at the folk festival while looking for a Morris group.

“It was only after he had his stroke that I really got to know him and learnt of his passion for steam locomotives. I feel honoured to have had him as a friend.”