Manchester never knew how much it would miss Tony Wilson. Yesterday, beneath a grey northern sky, the city's sense of loss for the man who had been the life and soul of its party for so many years was clear.

Family and friends of the man known as "Mr Manchester" attended a private funeral ceremony at St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, known as the Hidden Gem, in the city centre.

Fans gathered outside the church to pay their final respects to the founder of Factory Records and the Hacienda nightclub.

A roll call of famous Mancunians turned out to remember Wilson, a champion of the city, who died earlier this month, aged 57, after a prolonged battle with kidney cancer.

Peter Saville, who co-founded the iconic record label with Wilson, gave a reading during the mass. So too did Richard Madeley, who worked alongside Wilson at Granada Television, and arrived at the service with his wife Judy Finnigan.

After the service, which included the hymns "Hail Queen of Heaven" and "To Be A Pilgrim," six pallbearers, including Wilson's son, carried the coffin out of the church to the sound of the Happy Monday's track "Bob's Yer Uncle." Wilson was buried in Manchester's Southern Cemetery.

The television and radio presenter Terry Christian and the former Liverpool City Council deputy leader Derek Hatton were also present to wish farewell to the Salford-born music mogul, who doubled up as a reporter and presenter on the news programme Granada Reports and fronted So It Goes, the first UK music programme to show punk bands. The Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was among those who sent floral tributes.

Photo: manchestereveningnews.co.uk
Material: news.independent.co.uk