Tributes to 'angel' dad
HUNTINGDON wept on Friday for its own Angel of the North. Gary McFarlane, who lived in Macbeth Close, Huntingdon, was originally from Morpeth, Northumbria. He died of heart failure, aged 45, on May 29. At his funeral, about 600 people packed St Mary s
HUNTINGDON wept on Friday for its own "Angel of the North."
Gary McFarlane, who lived in Macbeth Close, Huntingdon, was originally from Morpeth, Northumbria.
He died of heart failure, aged 45, on May 29.
At his funeral, about 600 people packed St Mary's Church in the High Street and the grounds outside.
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Three coaches of mourners came from Newcastle and there were other coaches from London and Scotland as well as hundreds of people from Huntingdon.
Mourners wore black and white in tribute to "Geordie" - a lifelong Newcastle fan.
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Regulars at The Lord Protector and The Sun in Hartford bought Newcastle shirts for the occasion.
They came to honour Gary, a father of six, whose charisma, generosity and support of his friends had become legend.
After Lord Protector landlady Edna Betts died last year, he took over her project to raise cash for Cancer Research.
Despite having been ill himself after a stroke and heart problems, he tried to slim and invited people to guess his weight on FA Cup Final day.
All his children - Scott, 17, Katie, 16, Paul, 14, James 12, Michelle, nine, and Jake, eight - took part in the eulogy.
Michelle said: "Everyone in this room today knew my dad. He was the world's best dad and on the karaoke he was the best singer I have heard in ages.
"He was always happy and never sad.
"He loved lager and he loved Newcastle United. He was Newcastle United crazy."
Katie said: "My dad was perfect. He was a brilliant man, a very proud man and he lived life to the full.
"He always had a big smile on his face."
Paul Hunt - Gary's best friend for more than 20 years, who employed him in his financial consultancy - said: "Gary's mum, Sylvia, called him her Angel of the North.
"Sylvia said: 'We should write a book about Gary's life, so how can I do it justice in 10 minutes?
"But then we will have 12 hours to talk about it in the pub afterwards and Gary would appreciate that."
On Monday, his wife, Julie, 41, told The Hunts Post: "He was one of those people who walked into a room and made friends.
"At Christmas he put up a marquee in the garden and decorated it so that we could have more people for Christmas dinner.
"If he found anyone in the pub who said they would be on their own for Christmas, he would bring them home.
"Over New Year, the wind lifted up the tent and blew it three gardens down but it was still upright.
"Gary said to the neighbours: 'Well, I invited you over and you didn't come so I have sent the tent over to you'."
The McFarlanes met in The Falcon in Huntingdon's market square aged 19 and 23 when Julie beat Gary at darts.
She said: "He and his friend said they had a villa in the South of France - actually, they had been on sunbeds.
"We were engaged in two months and married in seven."
The couple married in Newcastle in 1986 and renewed their vows in Hartford 10 years and four children later, with Julie wearing the same wedding dress.
Gary was carried out of church to a song he used to sing to his wife, Elvis's The Wonder of You.
He was buried at North Street Cemetery in Huntingdon.