HUNDREDS of mourners packed into Christ Church in Heaton to pay their respects to the popular former boss of Prestons of Bolton.

Andrew Duckworth, from the Deansgate store, died on June 4 aged 63 after suffering heart failure.

He was described as a “diamond” and “a great man” during the funeral service when the congregation was told about his love for his family and his passion for golf.

Mr Duckworth had previously been both captain and president of Bolton Golf Club.

His friend Barry Bibby gave the eulogy, describing Mr Duckworth as a “caring, reliable, constant and giving friend”.

He said: “All of my memories of Andy are filled with laughter and happiness.

“Many of us have had a reason to thank him for some kindness at some stage, he had all the qualities of a great man, and I say a great man — there aren’t many of them around, and now there is one less.

“Andrew Duckworth was a diamond and we are all going to miss him.”

The service included the hymns ‘Morning Has Broken’ and ‘Lord of all Happiness’ as well as the musical number ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli.

Mr Duckworth’s youngest son, Michael, aged 33, paid tribute to his father with an emotional personal reading entitled ‘My Dad, My Chum.” He recounted how from a young age, he always saw his dad as a “towering presence” who made him feel safe.

Michael added: “We shared a love of golf and Bolton Wanderers and had the same taste in comedy and films — we were more than just father and son, we were great friends.

“He was a very genuine and funny man and I always felt like a little boy around him, giddy to be in his company — he had an infectious personality.

“The turnout here just shows the impact he had on people in his 63 years.”

Mr Duckworth leaves behind his wife Joanna, mother Beryl, sons Michael and James, siblings Julie, Helen, Neil and Quentin and grandchildren Mia, Isla Morgan and Alexander.