Tommy Fletcher, who died after a brave battle against cancer, was remembered as a gentle giant with a heart of gold as he was laid to rest.
There were tears and laughter during the 49-year-old dad of two’s funeral as scores of friends and family turned out to pay their respects and also to celebrate his life.
Tommy, also a proud grandad, died at the beginning of this month after the cancer he beat in 2015 sadly returned.
Funeral celebrant Helen Greenwell said during the service: “Tommy has left a wealth of wonderful memories to cherish.”
Speaking about Tommy’s childhood Helen told how he would try to leave the house to go to school before he was old enough prompting his mum Margaret to tie him to the washing line.
He went to Ward Jackson primary and Brierton secondary schools.
Moving forward in time Helen said: “It was in 1992 that Tommy met the girl who was to be the love of his life, Jacky.
“When Tommy called at her house for the first time her grandad answered the door and said ‘Jacky, it’s the Jolly Green Giant’.”
The couple fulfilled their wish to marry last year thanks to the help of town charity Miles for Men.
Stephen Picton of the charity became close friends with Tommy.
Helen said: “Tommy and Jacky were married on the 21st of December and it was the most gorgeous wedding complete with horse and carriage, fireworks and everything to make their day special.”
Miles for Men continued to support Tommy and his family including, along with the Mail, arranging to meet his wrestling idol WWE star Daniel Brian when he was on tour in Newcastle in May.
The support of the charity and others prompted Tommy to comment: “There’s no angels in heaven, because they are all down here with me.”
He was determined to give something back and despite being very ill Tommy walked across the finishing line at this year’s Miles for Men race.
Helen added: “Tommy was a kind-hearted gentle giant with a heart of gold.
“Jacky said he was her hero.”
Tommy wanted a short service with no fuss and instead of flowers asked for donations to Miles for Men and Walk for Women.