Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Too cool

Manchester never knew how much it would miss Tony Wilson. Yesterday, beneath a grey northern sky, the city's sense of loss for the man who had been the life and soul of its party for so many years was clear.

Family and friends of the man known as "Mr Manchester" attended a private funeral ceremony at St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, known as the Hidden Gem, in the city centre.

Fans gathered outside the church to pay their final respects to the founder of Factory Records and the Ha├žienda nightclub.

A roll call of famous Mancunians turned out to remember Wilson, a champion of the city, who died earlier this month, aged 57, after a prolonged battle with kidney cancer. They included the Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder and New Order and Joy Division bassist Peter Hook, whose bands were key to the Factory Records success story.

Peter Saville, who co-founded the iconic record label with Wilson, gave a reading during the mass. So too did Richard Madeley, who worked alongside Wilson at Granada Television, and arrived at the service with his wife Judy Finnigan.

After the service, which included the hymns "Hail Queen of Heaven" and "To Be A Pilgrim", six pallbearers, including Wilson's son, carried the coffin out of the church to the sound of the Happy Monday's track "Bob's Your Uncle".

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