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Funeral of Harry Gregg takes place in Coleraine

The funeral of Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg has taken place in Coleraine, Co Londonderry.

Former teammate Sir Bobby Charlton and former Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson were among those attending the service of remembrance at St Patrick’s Church on Friday morning.

Gregg, who was described as the hero of the 1958 Munich air disaster after returning to the burning wreckage to rescue passengers, passed away on Sunday aged 87.

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Mourners including First Minister Arlene Foster, former United player Sammy McIlroy, NI legend Gerry Armstrong and Olympic gold medalist Dame Mary Peters were also present, while a large crowd gathered in town centre to listen as tributes were paid to Harry Gregg.

Addressing the church, Gregg's son John-Henry told mourners that the funeral was being held on the anniversary of Duncan Edwards' death.

The United star died in a Munich hospital weeks after the plane crash, and members of Edwards' family attended the service in Coleraine.

"I believe my dad's life is something - even though we are hurting - that should be celebrated because, as they say, he certainly was a one off," said John-Henry.

Sir Bobby Charlton. Credit: Press Eye

Delivering a eulogy, BBC NI sports presenter Stephen Watson said: "He was called the Hero of Munich, but he always wanted to be remembered simply as a footballer and a coach of some repute.

"In his own words: 'I'm Harry Gregg from 34 Windsor Avenue in Coleraine who played football - I was useful on some days and rubbish on others. That's how I want to be remembered. Not for something that happened on a spur of a moment'.

"Harry Gregg. What an incredible man, and what a remarkable life. We will never forget you. We celebrate your life today."

Sir Alex Ferguson. Credit: Press Eye
Denis Law. Credit: Press Eye

Harry Gregg was a stalwart of the Manchester United team in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

He became the world’s most expensive keeper when he joined Sir Matt Busby's side from Doncaster for £23,000 in 1957.

In nine years at Manchester United Gregg played 247 times - including in a 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday just 13 days after the Munich tragedy.

He also played for Northern Ireland 25 times during his international career, and was given the title of best keeper at the 1958 World Cup.

  • Ruth Gorman speaks to some of the stars as they pay tribute: