Manchester attack: 'True gentleman' John Atkinson's funeral held

John Atkinson Image copyright Facebook
Image caption John Atkinson's relatives said his "senseless death has left our family broken-hearted"

The funeral of a "true gentleman" who was killed in the Manchester terror attack has been held.

John Atkinson, 28, from Radcliffe in Bury, was among 22 people who died in the suicide bombing at Manchester Arena on 22 May.

Scores of people attended the service, which took place in his home town.

The former support worker, who helped stroke victims and people with autism, was described as a "music lover" who was "one in a million".

Image caption The mood at the funeral was quiet with mourners wearing various colours

A white carriage, pulled by four horses, brought his body to the service at St Thomas and St John Church.

"He was so well thought of in the workplace and a genuine role model to the people he supported," Revd Carol Hayden said at the service.

Extracts from John Atkinson's eulogy

Image caption Images of John Atkinson adorned his coffin, which was pulled by four white horses

John loved music; he loved going to concerts and had seen many of the great divas.

If there was someone he wanted to go and see he would have the family on standby with laptops and mobile phones at the ready trying to buy tickets.

He would think nothing of queuing for hours to buy tickets to see a star. It wasn't only the music he enjoyed, it was the whole experience ...the crowds and the atmosphere.

But the greatest love and passion of John's life was his family. He was caring and thoughtful - he never left anyone out.

Relatives of support worker Mr Atkinson said his "senseless death has left our family broken-hearted".

A fundraising page set up by his friend Hayley Dickenson to pay for his funeral raised more than £7,000.

In an online tribute, Ms Dickenson said: "John was one in a million and loved by so many."

Mr Atkinson was said by his family to have been very proud of the fact that he lost eight stones in weight.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption John Atkinson's relatives said he was the "life and soul of his family"

'Bright shirts and a colourful coffin': Bronwyn Jones, BBC News

Mourners gathered in quiet contemplation in the leafy church grounds before the sound of hooves signalled the entrance of four white horses bringing John Atkinson's coffin.

Many mourners came in colourful clothes - some wearing T-shirts bearing Manchester's worker bee symbol, which has come to prominence since the attack - others in bright yellow shirts with the words "our angel" on them.

The coffin was emblazoned with happy images from John Atkinson's life, symbolising the man who relatives described as "the life and soul of the family".

During the private service, songs by Whitney Houston and Westlife were played in his memory.

When the service ended, people clapped and tearful mourners said their final goodbyes as the colourful coffin was placed back in the carriage to wind its way through Radcliffe, a town subdued with sorrow.

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