Final farewell to Echo's Patrick Lavelle + Slideshow

A talented journalist and lecturer has been laid to rest.

Friends, family, colleagues and students of former Echo news editor Patrick Lavelle said their final goodbyes to the 50-year-old at a packed funeral service yesterday.

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Pat, one of the region's top investigative journalists who turned to teaching five years ago, died on March 22 after suffering from bone cancer.

He left behind wife Maureen and children Tom, Michelle and Chad.

His family and friends were joined by journalists from across the North East and a number of Wearside politicians at St Cecilia's Church in Ryhope Road, Sunderland.

Friend and former colleague Nigel Green said Pat "lived and breathed Sunderland" and continued to fight for what was right and work on a wide range of projects until the last.

He said: "Bravery is used all to readily to describe people who die from cancer. It's becoming a cliche – but how else could you describe how Patrick bore his illness?"

Pat was perhaps best known for his investigations into Yorkshire Ripper hoaxer Wearside Jack, and his "relentless pursuit" is credited with keeping the case alive and allowing culprit John Humble to be brought to justice.

The award-winning journalist spent his spent his final years as a journalism lecturer at Sunderland University, and some of his students attended the funeral.

He did not give up writing, penning books as well as working on a film based on the notorious one-armed bandit murder.

Pat was also planning to stand in the forthcoming council and general elections with the Sunderland First political group he founded last year.