HE was described as a “people’s person” - and the hundreds of people who packed into church to pay their final respects to John Breward would certainly agree.
Family members, friends, and colleagues joined together to remember the “kind, gentle” 64-year-old who sadly passed away last weekend after a battle with cancer.
And every single one of them had something in common – memories of their time with John.
Only standing room remained at St Patrick’s Church, in Owton Manor Lane, as hundreds took the opportunity to say their final goodbye.
In a touching and emotional tribute to the former commercial manager of Hartlepool United, his close pal Brian Ross, said: “To me, John’s biggest attribute was the way he communicated with people, he was a people person, he understood people and they understood him.”
The church was told how the dad-of-three, granddad and great-granddad lived for his family and for sport.
He worked for his beloved Hartlepool United for more than 30 years and the club’s chief executive, Russ Green, was joined at the service by Ritchie Humphreys in the week he was released by the club, Antony Sweeney, former player Adam Boyd and club legend Joe Allon – all keen to show their appreciation.
As his long time pal Brian addressed the church, he said John had asked him to speak at the funeral last Friday, the day before he sadly passed away.
Words left by John read: “I have had a good life and I’ve always been happy.
“To my family, I love you more than life itself and when you think of me be happy and proud, not sad.”
John said he was going to be at peace and reunited with his beloved wife, Beattie, who died in 2004.
A message on a bouquet of flowers from one of his daughters, Denise, read: “To dad, back in the arms of mam who waited for you at the gates of heaven.”
The service was led by Father McGivern, who described John as a man of “decency and generosity” who cared a great deal for other people.
The hymns Walk With Me, Eagles Wings, I Watch the Sunrise and Be Still were all part of the service.
And as the coffin of John was carried outside at the end of the service to the sound of Matt Munro’s Impossible Dream, those who had gathered gave a round of applause as they took the final opportunity to show their appreciation and love for the Pools legend and friend of so many.
A service followed at Stranton Crematorium.