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Farewell Bill Carr

By: Hannah Kennard
Date: 26/02/2004

YESTERDAY was the funeral for former Grimsby Town chairman, Bill Carr. Hannah Kennard of the Grimsby Telegraph reported the details of the service.

Hannah wrote;

Hundreds of mourners packed into Grimsby's parish church to pay their respects and say a final goodbye to businessman and former Grimsby Town chairman Bill Carr.

People stood in the aisles and filled all corners of St James' Church as the Rector of Grimsby, Canon Michael Hunter, paid tribute to a man who "stood out from the crowd".

Canon Hunter said what made Mr Carr stand out was that he was "a good man, even before he died."

He said: "Death has a strange habit of transforming rogues and vagabonds into people of integrity and virtue.

"No such mental gymnastics are necessary in Bill's case."

He described him as a gentleman and a special person with an "unquenchable enthusiasm and zest for life."

Canon Hunter said Mr Carr was devoted to his wife Jose and their three children and when he was asked what he wanted for his birthday or Christmas, his stock reply was always that he just wanted a happy wife and three happy children.

"He got his wish in abundance year after year," said Canon Hunter.

He said only this week, someone had described Mr Carr to him as "the quiet benefactor of Waltham" - the village he loved.

The Rev Ian Shelton, of Waltham's All Saints' Church, led prayers for Mr Carr and his family and described him as "the local lad who became one of Grimsby's greatest sons."

Canon Hunter told the huge congregation that never, in 37 years in the ministry, had he seen so many people turn out to a single funeral.

He said: "And as for the miraculous win over Luton on the eve of his funeral, I feel it was written in the stars.

"It was a tribute to a distinguished servant of the football club.

"But the Mariners were made for Bill, and not Bill for the Mariners, because there was so much more to Bill than soccer."

Canon Hunter said of the man who reigned over the club's two appearances at Wembley Stadium in just one season: "He was one of the few who were not damaged, whose head was not turned by entering the board room."

The emotional atmosphere was reflected in the applause when Canon Hunter sat down.

Mourners sang two hymns, including The Lord Is My Shepherd, and listened to a haunting performance by the boys of St James' Parish Choir.

Members of the congregation included former managers Paul Groves, who was skipper in the Wembley double season of 1997-98, and former boss Brian Laws, now manager of Scunthorpe United.

Former player and assistant boss John Cockerill was there, along with former players including Mark Lever, Steve Sherwood, Tony Gallimore together with current players, including skipper John McDermott, chairman Peter Furneaux, and office staff.

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