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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Big send-off for James McKenzie - ‘one of life’s characters’

A letter from Sir Alex Ferguson and heartfelt messages from loving grandchildren were among the tributes read at the funeral of Workington Town stalwart James McKenzie this week.

The 250-capacity crematorium at Distington was full on Tuesday.

Many people listened outside through loudspeakers as they paid their respects to the 61-year-old, who died in a car crash in Honister Drive, Workington, on March 7.

Mr McKenzie – also known as Jimmy, Chizza and Snuffbox – was a fan of Workington Town and Wigan rugby league teams and Manchester United.

He manned the turnstiles at Workington Town’s Derwent Park stadium for 41 years.

The Rev Irene Fearon, who led the service, described Mr McKenzie as “one of life’s characters” and a gentleman with a “marvellous, dry sense of humour” who was close to his brothers as well as wife Olive, children John, Evelyn and Sharon and grandchildren.

She read a letter from Manchester United manager Sir Alex, which was written to Mrs McKenzie and family.

The letter, written in response to one he was sent about Mr McKenzie's death, said: “I’d like to express our sincere condolences to you and your family.

“I know that the days and months ahead will be most difficult but trust that you will find comfort in God and with each other at this very sad time.”

Tributes from Mr McKenzie’s grandchildren were also read.

One from Lauren said: “You were one in a million. You’ll always be with us in our hearts. We shared so many good times together and had a lot of secrets. I love you so much.”

Courtney said: “I don’t know what I’m going to do without you. I still don’t believe that you have gone. It just feels so unreal. You did get called Grumpy Granda but you were grumpy with a smile. Love you forever.”

Lisa wrote: “Well Granda, it’s been nearly two weeks since you left us and I’m missing you so much. I want to hear your voice and see your face.

“I have been dreading this day but it’s here and I have to say goodbye. I don’t want to and still need you in my life.”

A message from Ryan said: “You’re the best. You always were. I love you to bits Granda and I’m going to miss you.”

Declan’s message said: “I love you and I think you are one in a million and I miss you already. I want you to know that I have cut down on the energy drinks and I don’t slam the door anymore. You’ll be a much missed husband and dad but mainly you were my granda. Lots and lots of love from Declan.”

Mr McKenzie’s friend Vince Dolan recounted tales of days out with a great friend and led the congregation in raising three cheers.

Westlife’s I’ll See You Again was played before the mourners joined together to recite the traditional version of the Lord’s Prayer, a request Mr McKenzie had previously made for his funeral.

As the service drew to a close, the congregation listened to Neil Diamond’s song Sweet Caroline which was Mr McKenzie’s karaoke favourite.

Workington Town rugby league club chairman Dave Bowden was among the mourners.

Have your say

I would like to say a big thank you to my brother david moore for getting in touch with sir alex and making the kind letter possible.All the family are very grateful for what you have done.

Posted by joanne mckenzie on 23 March 2012 at 16:02

Dad you would have been so proud to have sir alex sending you a letter just shows you we're a legend and you'll be missed by a lot of people not only your loving family but all your friends R.I.P Dad love you forever olive john joanne,eve,sharon and all the grandkids xxxxxx

Posted by john mckenzie on 22 March 2012 at 23:31

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