Tears mark service for Sir Tom

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Thousands of teary-eyed mourners, standing four to five deep, lining the streets of Preston, burst into applause 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.

The coffin of Sir Tom Finney arrives at St John�s Parish Church, Preston, for his funeral. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 27, 2014. See PA story SOCCER Finney. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

The coffin of Sir Tom Finney arrives at St John�s Parish Church, Preston, for his funeral. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 27, 2014. See PA story SOCCER Finney. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Some people stood on bus stop seats and on window sills to get a view of the hearse which was 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.

Photo Neil Cross
The funeral of Sir Tom Finney at Preston Minster

Photo Neil Cross The funeral of Sir Tom Finney at Preston Minster

Father 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.

Earlier in the morning, celebrities from the footballing world arrived at the Minster on coaches to the sound of church bells, many wearing official club ties stopped to acknowledge a throng of photographers outside the Minster including Preston-born commentator Mark Lawrenson and former captain, Graham Alexander.

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, Councillor John Swindells, said: “Sir Tom always did Preston proud and today the people of Preston have done him proud.”

 

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