A FATHER who took aid to Belarus after the Chernobyl disaster was described as a ‘working class hero’ at his funeral today (January 11).

Mike Worton MBE from Evesham, who died aged 75, loved coaches and mourners honoured his request for his coffin to be carried by coach on his final journey to Worcester Crematorium.

Mr Worton, who died from heart failure in December, led aid convoys to Belarus for over 10 years as part of his charity Chernobyl 2000.

His son, Steve, aged 42, of South Littleton, Evesham, said: “It all started when a group had come over from Belarus for a recuperative holiday.

“They needed somewhere to stay when they came. His brother and wife were hosting a couple of children and that’s how it began.

“He then decided to go out and help the family of the children.

He did 15 or 16 years of convoys. He went to various places around Belarus.”

Steve Worton added that 75 per cent of the radioactive material from the Chernobyl nuclear accident fell upon Belarus, which damaged the economy of the country.

His father’s coffin was carried to the funeral by Dudley’s Coaches, which previously employed Mr Worton.

Gail Stevenson, Mr Worton’s stepdaughter, said: “When we first met him he just gave us all hugs and said he was proud to be part of our family. “He was just wonderful. I’ve never met anyone like him. He was such a gentle person. When he was in hospital he said I don’t understand why I have so many visitors.

“I never met anyone like him. I couldn’t have asked for a better stepdad. Nothing was too much trouble for him. He set up the Chernobyl 2000 charity with my mum.”

She added that the charity packed aid into a variety of vehicles and drove to Belarus to help those affected by the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plan, in Pripyat, Ukraine, on April 26, 1986.

Among the items taken were medicine, clothes, furniture, musical instruments, food, books, computer equipment, toiletries, toys and school uniforms.

Bredon Hill Middle School pupils and teachers joined Mr Worton on one of his convoys to Belarus in April 2006.

Mr Worton, of Church Lench, Evesham, worked for the ambulance service, ran his own haulage company and did tours around the Cotswolds. He had three children and five stepchildren.