Hundreds line Northumberland streets to say farewell to World Cup hero Jack Charlton
Jack Charlton passed through his home town of Ashington this morning for the final time as his funeral cortege made its way to West Road Crematorium, in Newcastle.
Football fans gathered by the side of the road on Tuesday, July 21, to pay their respects as the procession slowly drove along the sunny streets.
Only 20 mourners were allowed inside the crematorium for the service due to coronavirus restrictions.
But his home town was still crowded with locals keen to say their final goodbyes.
The 85-year-old former defender, known as Big Jack, peacefully passed away on July 10 after a battle with illness.
Charlton's playing days saw him lift England's only ever World Cup in 1966 next to brother Sir Bobby, 82, who was not present at the funeral.
It read: "Rest in peace Jack. Sending our deepest sympathies. From Bobby, Norma and Family."
Aside from England glory, centre-half Charlton was also part of Leeds United’s successful side of the 1960s-70s before going on to manage Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle United and the Republic of Ireland.
John Dunn, Secretary of the Hirst Welfare Centre, home to Ashington AFC juniors, where the cortege briefly stopped, said it was a fitting turn out.
The 64-year-old added: "He was quite involved when we opened. He came for the cutting of the ribbon and helped us at the start.
"Every now and again he would just turn up.
"I knew him more in later life, but he was one hell of a sportsman and played almost 800 games for Leeds. But as a human being he was just an absolute treasure.
"He was a great, great man and had time for everyone.
"He loved all the sports."
Another sporting star from Ashington, former England cricketer Stephen Harmison, also turned up to pay his respects.
The 41-year-old, who now lives just outside the town, managed Ashington Football Club in 2016 and has great memories of spending time with Jack, who came back to live in his home county.
He said: "Jack was such an iconic figure in this mining town, his achievements gave hope to other people.
"I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with him on a Friday afternoon after my retirement, even if it was just an hour a week, depending on how long it took wife Pat to get her hair done.
"You would leave his company feeling better about yourself and with a smile on your face.
"He still hadn't worked out how to use the coffee machine.”
Following the news of his death, a campaign was launched by residents of Ashington for a statue to be built in honour of both Jack and Sir Bobby, who are themselves the nephews of late Ashington-born Newcastle United legend Jackie Milburn.