HUNDREDS of people gathered to say goodbye to one of Blackburn’s footballing heroes.

The sun shone down on Blackburn Cathedral as the funeral of Fred Pickering took place.

Family, friends and fans attended the cathedral to remember the footballer’s life.

The father-of-three scored 61 goals for his boyhood club, Blackburn Rovers.

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Flowers depicting the word ‘DAD’ were accompanied by signed Rovers, Everton, Blackpool and Birmingham shirts, clubs the 78-year-old also played for.

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During the service Canon Rowena Pailing described Mr Pickering’s life as a remarkable achievement.

She said: “It was fair to say he was a legend.

“That man brought so much joy to so many fans.

“He grew up very close to here in Mill Hill and as a young boy he was encouraged to play football by one of his teachers.

“When he was picked to play for his school team, he did not own any football boots.

“His teacher told him to play in his wellies instead.”

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The prolific forward broke the British domestic transfer record when Everton paid Rovers £85,000 for him in 1964.

He scored five goals in three games for England in the same year, and bagged a hat-trick on his debut in a 10-0 victory against the USA.

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Alleluia Sing to Jesus, Be Still, The Lord’s Prayer and O Lord My God were sung during the service.

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews was also heard.This Is Lancashire:

Canon Pailing said: “Fred was a very polite man.

“He was a stickler for always doing things properly.

“Fred used his god-given gift.”

Mr Pickering’s burial took place at Pleasington Crematorium after the service.

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