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Thousands gather to say farewell to football trailblazer Cyrille Regis

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  • Watch the full memorial service for Cyrille Regis at The Hawthorns

More than 4,500 fans gathered at The Hawthorns for a memorial service to celebrate the life of pioneering footballer Cyrille Regis.

He died suddenly from a heart attack earlier this month, aged 59.

Regis debuted at West Bromwich Albion in 1977, where he quickly made a name for himself.

Cyrille Regis, pictured in 1977, when he debuted for West Bromwich Albion. Credit: PA

He was part of the first British side to field three black players in the same team, alongside Brendon Batson and Laurie Cunningham.

Batson was among those paying tribute to his friend and former team-mate at the service.

Forty years ago, this very much month, I first met Cyrille. Big Cyrille, as we called him.

We became team-mates, then firm friends. We'll all be able to recall images of Cyrille scoring memorial goals here at the Hawthorns and other grounds up and down the country.

But being a professional footballer of distinction should not define the big man alone. He was much, much more than that.

– Brendon Batson, former footballer
Cyrille Regis' funeral cortege outside The Hawthorns. Credit: PA

Fans lined the streets in the morning to watch as Regis' funeral cortege depart for a private family funeral.

Members of his family later spoke at the public memorial.

Every day I wake up and I think to myself to be more like him. My dad was composed in all situations.

Loving, warm when it was cold, genuine and caring to those close and far.

– Robert Regis, Cyrille's son

Cyrille's legacy will live on, and I am sure that with each passing year, we will truly be able to understand the level of impact that this great man has had.

– Julia Regis, Cyrille's wife
Cyrille's wife Julia addressing crowds at his memorial service. Credit: PA

Regis played for three other football clubs in the Midlands - Coventry City, Aston Villa and Wolves.

His former manager at Coventry City, John Sillett said he had "the greatest job in football, managing a man called Cyrille Regis".

Fans hold up banners in tribute to Cyrille Regis. Credit: PA