Packed house at the final whistle for Pools superfan

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THROUGHOUT his life he travelled up and down the country watching his beloved Hartlepool United.

And yesterday, family, friends and football fans all paid their final tributes to superfan Brian Filby.

Brian Filby

Brian Filby

Brian, 72, sadly died last Tuesday night at Victoria Park shortly before a league game against Notts County, and more than 100 people took their place at St Cuthbert’s Church in Billingham yesterday to pay their respects and celebrate the life of a “Pools supporter through and through”.

Blue and white floral tributes laid around his coffin recognised his passion for his local team.

A touching message from his grandchildren Dominik and Theo read: “Miss you loads Granddad.”

Some friends at the service decided to don their own Pools shirts in a loving final tribute.

The cortege makes its way past the Victoria Ground

The cortege makes its way past the Victoria Ground

Tears flowed as Brian, who was born and brought up in Hartlepool, was brought into the church and placed alongside the stunning floral display.

The service was conducted by Jean Melrose, who after addressing the church read the touching WH Auden poem Stop All The Clocks, Cut Off The Telephone.

Tears turned to smiles as Mrs Melrose looked back on Brian’s life.

She said: “Brian was a fantastic storyteller.

“His grandchildren loved him to bits and loved listening to his stories.

“He also loved the karaoke, and often said he should have been the fourth member of the Rat Pack.

“And of course he loved football and Hartlepool United.”

She praised Brian’s loyalty, and said the loyalty of football supporters can teach people so much about God’s love and faithfulness. Fittingly, mourners sang the football hymn Abide With Me.

In a message on a floral tribute, his wife Maureen, said: “To my darling husband Brian.

“Forever in my heart, I will love you forever.

“Good night, God bless.”

His daughter Samantha wrote: “I will cherish the memories and the stories.”

The dad-of-two also got one more chance to visit one of his favourite places when the funeral car drove past Victoria Park after the service.

Hartlepool United chief executive Russ Green represented the club at the funeral.

After the service, Brian was cremated at Hartlepool Crematorium.