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Church funeral for Newcastle goalkeeping legend Pavel Srnicek
Newcastle Football Club chaplain, Revd Canon Glyn Evans, has led the funeral of one of the team's top players.
A service for former goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek was held at the Parish Church of St Andrew in the shadow of St James' Park.
Srnicek died last month at the age of just 47 after suffering cardiac arrest.
Hundreds of friends and fans joined family members from his native Czech Republic to remember his life.
Former team-mates Alan Shearer, Steve Harper, Shay Given, Rob Lee, Lee Clark, Alan Thompson, Scott Sellars, Steve Howey, Darren Peacock, Steve Watson and Brian Kilcline were in attendance. Former chairmen Sir John Hall and Freddy Shepherd and current managing director Lee Charnley, head coach Steve McClaren, football development manager Peter Beardsley and players Tim Krul and Steven Taylor also joined the congregation.
Harper, who was a 17-year-old aspiring keeper when he first met Srnicek, led the tributes, saying in an emotional eulogy: "You loved Newcastle, Pav, but I can assure you that Newcastle loved you.
"It was a privilege to meet you, it was a privilege to learn from you, it was a privilege to know you and call you my friend."
Close friend and agent Steve Wraith said: "He may have arrived without a Geordie accent or an inkling of what a Geordie was, but somehow, he got it. He was a gentleman and a Geordie and his place will be forever written into the history of Newcastle United.
"We love you Pavel, we do, oh Pavel we love you."
The congregation sang the FA Cup final hymn Abide With Me and the 23rd psalm, to which an extra verse had been added.
It read: "Pavel is a Geordie evermore, He's part of our family, He's played in goal, God rest his soul, a Geordie like you and me."
Some of Srnicek's favourite songs, Gerry and the Pacemakers' You'll Never Walk Alone and Lifted by the Lighthouse Family, were also sang.
Speaking afterwards, Shearer said: "It's not surprising, but it's great to see so many old faces here today. People have come from all over the world, all over the country to be here, and that tells you what a nice, genuine, humble, honest, hard-working professional Pav was. He was great to be around."
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