Mick Neville: Hundreds pay their respect at the Shay

Funeral of Mick Neville at The Shay, Halifax
Funeral of Mick Neville at The Shay, Halifax

The Shay east stand erupted into a round of applause as the coffin of Mick Neville was carried down the tunnel into the ground.

He gave decades of service on and off the field on behalf of the Calderdale football community who turned out in force to say goodbye and celebrate his life.

The Rev Ray Biddiss told the crowd - which numbered several hundred: “We are here not because he died, but because he lived. It was a life that has touched you.”

The hymn “Abide With Me” was followed by a tribute from Leon Haslam of the Haslam Motorcycling Dynasty with which Mick shared his other sporting love of motorbikes.

Paul Throp, chairman of the local Saturday League, said Mick was well respected on and off the field and was a willing organiser and volunteer who won several awards for services to football.

Mick, a goalkeeper, played for several clubs in both the local Saturday and Sunday leagues for nearly 50 years and played his last game aged 63.

Mr Throp said Mick had been dressed in his prized Man Utd shirt which was given to him on his 47th birthday.

“He will be sadly missed on the football pitches around Calderdale,” he said.

His two granddaughters Kathryn and Lizzie also reflected on happy times which included caravanning and motorbike meetings and left mourners with the message: “We just hope he was as proud of us as we were of him.”

The service was followed by a private committal.

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Mick spent his life locally and enjoyed family and personal interests but still found time to work behind the scenes on behalf of the footballing community.

He grew up in Ovenden, Halifax, and became an apprentice gas fitter working for British Gas and college lecturer before taking redundancy. His love of motorcycling and football stayed with him throughout his life. He and Pam honeymooned at the Isle of Mann in 1980 and they settled in Northowram. He was dad to Helen and a proud granddad. He enjoyed family holidays and caravanning and more recently switched to a camper van. He lost his fight with cancer aged just 64.