'A life well lived' - Hundreds gather in Sunderland to celebrate life of 'exceptional' Richie Jordan
The sun shone over St Cecilia’s Church in Sunderland as hundreds of people came together to celebrate the kindness, love and passion of local footballer Richie Jordan.
The ‘exceptional’ sportsman was remembered by family, friends and teammates at a funeral service on Tuesday, August 13; attended by hundreds of people whose lives had been touched through knowing him.
Dozens of guests lined the back of the church and spilled through to outdoors as Father Marc Lyden-Smith led the tributes to Richie, who was 33.
“To his much-loved partner Carol, the love of your life, a wonderful father to Quinn, an incredible son to Veronica and Michael, a fantastic brother to Olivia and friend to so many,” Fr Marc said.
“It brings up emotions that no doctor can heal, or no tablet can reverse. It’s good to weep together, and be here for each other.”
Dad-of-one Richie, who was a well-known face throughout the Sunderland footballing community, lost his life following a crash on the A19 near Houghton on Sunday, August 4.
Ahead of his funeral, friends, teammates and colleagues joined together in Richie’s honour for a minute’s silence at two football matches on Wearside.
He was honoured at Sunderland’s LGV Park on Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11 with a moment of quiet, followed by applause.
Speaking to the Echo, partner Carol, 27, said that was how Richie would have wanted to be remembered – ‘swerving’ a traditional funeral in favour of the football.
Fr Marc told the service how the couple met at a party – with Carol charmed over a double vodka and Red Bull. They officially became a couple on April Fool’s Day 2014 – but it was no joke.
He added: “His family and friends and community will surely and deeply miss him.”
Long-time friend James Smith, who is godfather to Richie’s 19-month-old daughter, brought a smile to the church on the darkest of days with a touching eulogy to the ‘lovely lad’ who always gave his time to help others.
“He’s literally moved a community,” James said.
The pair met as children and played football together for years, staying close through to adulthood.
Speaking of Richie’s journey into fatherhood, James said: “I knew then he was going to love being a dad, and knew he would put 110% into that.”
He added: “He was impossible to get in touch with – unless you were a non-league football manager with a signing-on fee!”
The cortege then left the church played out by The Mighty Quinn by Manfred Mann.
The touching service was followed by a burial at Grangetown Cemetery, with guests invited to share their memories and continue the celebration of Richie’s life at the Alex pub, also in Grangetown afterwards.