Former Burnley FC player Graham Alexander helped to carry the coffin of Preston North End hero Sir Tom Finney at Preston Minster as part of an emotional civic send-off for the football legend.
Thousands of teary-eyed mourners, standing four to five deep, lining the streets of Preston, burst into applause this afternoon as Sir Tom Finney’s coffin approached Preston Minster.
In the cold sunshine, the claps of the crowd, and the sound of police horses’ hooves on the Tarmac, were the only sounds that could be heard.
Some people stood on bus stop seats and window sills to get a view of the hearse adorned with white flowers.
The hearse and the family cars paused for five minutes outside the church.
As the pall bearers lifted the coffin, the crowd fell silent and only the slow toll of church bells could be heard.
A short time later, organ music was played to the crowd from inside the service.
Fr Timothy Lipscomb, leading the service, said Sir Tom Finney “was a legend in his own time and royalty among football”. He also spoke of Sir Tom being distinguished, dignified, engaging, self-effacing and having a love for the city of Preston.
Mayor of boroughs throughout Lancashire, queued in their official cars, behind the coaches and black police horses, to make their way to the church.
Strangers stood together in the crowd and reminisced together about their memories of Sir Tom.
The common theme was he was a “true Prestonian and a true gentleman”.
Deputy Leader of Preston Council, Coun John Swindells, said: “Sir Tom always did Preston proud and today the people of Preston have done him proud.”