Ali Brownlee: Funeral for 'Voice of the Boro'

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Media caption'Voice of the Boro' Ali Brownlee laid to rest

A private funeral has been held for Alastair Brownlee, the BBC Tees presenter who died of cancer last week.

Thousands of football fans turned out to pay their final respects beforehand as a cortege travelled through Middlesbrough.

People were invited to wear red, and many filled the West Stand at the club's Riverside Stadium.

Mr Brownlee, 56, commentated on the club for more than 30 years. He also presented the BBC Tees breakfast show.

Affectionately known as "Voice of the Boro", chants of "There's only one Ali Brownlee" rang out inside the stadium and highlights of his commentary were played on a big screen.

As well as the Riverside, the cortege stopped at Ayresome Street, close to where the club used to play.

Image caption Alastair Brownlee was born in Byelands Street, Middlesbrough, in April 1959, not far from Ayresome Park where the club then played
Image caption A T-shirt carried the message "RIP Ali, have a parmo with the big man" - a reference to a well-known line of Mr Brownlee's commentary
Image caption The cortege travelled through the town before the private funeral

Red and white balloons were also released in tribute.

A service was staged at St Mary's Church in Acklam at about 14:00 GMT.

On Tuesday, a minute's applause was held before the club's home game with Cardiff with further applause following in the 56th minute.

Mr Brownlee died at his Middlesbrough home on 14 February, three months after being diagnosed with the disease.

Image caption Fifty red and white balloons were released into the air where the Holgate End used to be, in Ayresome Street

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