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IN PICTURES: Hundreds say farewell to tragic Newcastle United fan Liam Sweeney

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HUNDREDS of people today said a sad farewell to Newcastle United fan Liam Sweeney, who died on tragic Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The 28-year-old from Killingworth was on his way to New Zealand to watch the Magpies in pre-season action with fellow ‘superfan’ John Alder, 63, from Gateshead, when the plane crashed.

His funeral service was held at St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle to remember Liam.

Among the floral tributes were the words ‘son’, ‘grandson’ and ‘friend’, and a Newcastle shirt and scarf were place on his coffin.

Manager Alan Pardew, club captain Fabricio Coloccini, managing director Lee Charnley and assistant manager John Carver also came to pay their respects to one of the club’s most dedicated fans.

Afterwards they were seen greeting and hugging the family, including Mr Sweeney’s father Barry, and passing on their condolences.

The service heard that Mr Sweeney was a family man and a gentle giant who always had a smile on his face.

Afterwards they were seen greeting and hugging the family, including Mr Sweeney’s father Barry, and passing on their condolences.

The service heard that Mr Sweeney was a family man and a gentle giant who always had a smile on his face.

He loved reading, especially Lord Of The Rings and Animal Farm, and also loved watching The Simpsons.

A poem was read out during the service, which said: “If the Toon were playing you were there, win or lose through bad and good, Newcastle United were in your blood.”

Canon Robert Spence said Mr Sweeney deserved his place in Geordie mythology, and the scarf and shirt had been placed on his coffin as a sign of his commitment to the team.

He said this commitment led him to watch not only the first team, but also the under-21s and the club’s academy.

Prayers were said for the family of Mr Alder, asking that they would find peace.

Canon Spence commended the unity shown by Newcastle and Sunderland fans since the tragedy, as tens of thousands of pounds was raised by the rival supporters for charity.

The order of service included some pictures of Mr Sweeney and the words of the hymns Be Still And Know I Am With You and Here I Am, Lord.

Mourners were then invited to St James’s Park for refreshments.

After the jet was downed in Ukraine, hundreds of tributes and flowers for Mr Sweeney and Mr Alder were left outside the stadium.

On Sunday, relatives of both fans laid flowers in the centre circle, and a minute’s silence was held before the home game against Manchester City.

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