Man Utd stars' tribute to Busby Babe Bill Foulkes
- 11 December 2013
- From the section Manchester
The funeral has been held for former Manchester United player Bill Foulkes, who survived the Munich air crash.
Sir Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and Nobby Stiles were among ex-United stars at the requiem mass at St Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, Altrincham.
Paying tribute, Sir Bobby said Bill Foulkes was a "great player" as well as a "hero" who helped saved lives in the 1958 disaster.
The service was followed by a private cremation ceremony.
St Helens-born Foulkes played for United in their 1968 European Cup final victory over Benfica.
Other former teammates who attended included Brian Kidd, Alex Stepney and Denis Law.
Munich air crash
Foulkes was a key member of Sir Matt Busby's team of talented young players, who were nicknamed the Busby Babes.
On 6 February 1958, the plane carrying the team back from Belgrade crashed in a blizzard after refuelling at Munich airport.
Twenty-three people died; eight players, eight newspaper journalists and seven members of backroom staff.
Sir Bobby Charlton spoke of Foulkes's heroism in returning to the wreckage of the plane crash to help fellow passengers on the icy runway in Germany.
He said Foulkes and Harry Gregg, a fellow survivor, had "heroically saved many many lives" and he and others were "ever so grateful".
His first memory of "Billy" was him turning up at The Cliff training ground with his face still dirty from working shifts as a miner in his home town of St Helens.
"Billy was a great defender and a giant in the air," said Sir Bobby.
"Tough as teak - he was one of the really, really great footballers.
"When I say great, he was great at what he did."
Foulkes made his United debut against Liverpool in December 1952 and went on to score nine goals in his career. He won his only England cap in 1954.
He began playing professionally in August 1951 and went on to play 688 games for Manchester United - only Sir Bobby, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes played more times for the club.
Foulkes left United in June 1970 and went on to manage clubs in the US and Norway.
He died on 25 November, aged 81.