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Manchester United boss sends message for Cumbrian man's funeral

A letter from Sir Alex Ferguson and heartfelt messages from loving grandchildren were among the tributes at the funeral of Workington Town stalwart James McKenzie.

James McKenzie photo
James McKenzie

The 250-capacity crematorium at Distington was full with many people listening outside through loudspeakers as they paid their respects to the 61-year-old, who died in a two-car crash on Honister Drive, Workington, on Wednesday, March 7.

Mr McKenzie, who was also known as Jimmy, Chizza and Snuffbox, was a fan of Workington Town and Wigan rugby league teams and Manchester United, manning the turnstiles at Derwent Park for 41 years.

The Reverend Irene Fearon, who led yesterday’s service, described Mr McKenzie as “one of life’s characters” and a gentleman with a “marvellous, dry sense of humour” who was close to his brothers as well as wife Olive, children John, Evelyn and Sharon and grandchildren.

She read a letter from United boss Sir Alex, written to Mrs McKenzie and family.

The letter, written in response to one he was sent about Mr McKenzie’s death, said: “I’d like to express our sincere condolences to you and your family. I know that the days and months ahead will be most difficult but trust that you will find comfort in God and with each other at this very sad time.”

Heartfelt tributes from Mr McKenzie’s grandchildren were also read.

One from Lauren said: “You were one in a million. You’ll always be with us in our hearts. We shared so many good times together and had a lot of secrets. I love you so much.”

Courtney said: “I don’t know what I’m going to do without you. I still don’t believe that you have gone. It just feels so unreal. You did get called Grumpy Granda but you were grumpy with a smile. Love you forever.”

Lisa wrote: “Well Granda, it’s been nearly two weeks since you left us and I’m missing you so much. I want to hear your voice and see your face. I have been dreading this day but it’s here and I have to say goodbye. I don’t want to and still need you in my life.”

A message from Ryan said: “You’re the best. You always were. I’m keeping a big eye on World’s Toughest Truckers. I hope Wigan always win. I love you to bits Granda and I’m going to miss you.”

Declan’s message said: “I love you and I think you are one in a million and I miss you already. I want you to know that I have cut down on the energy drinks and I don’t slam the door anymore. You’ll be a much missed husband and dad but mainly you were my granda. Lots and lots of love from Declan.”

Mr McKenzie’s friend Vince Dolan recounting tales of days out with a great friend and led the congregation in raising three cheers.Westlife’s I’ll See You Again was played before the mourners joined together to recite the traditional version of the Lord’s Prayer, a request Mr McKenzie had previously made for his funeral.

As the service drew to a close, the congregation listened to Sweet Caroline, which was Mr McKenzie’s karaoke favourite.Workington Town chairman Dave Bowden was among the mourners.

  • The driver of the other vehicle, Lee Thomas Walley, 35, of Beverley Close, Workington, was seriously injured in the crash. He has been accused of causing death by dangerous driving and will appear at Carlisle Crown Court on May 28.
Have your say

Big Jim. Thank You for the laughs..your friendship and the many skinheads that you gave me. The world is a sadder and lonlier place without you.

Paul Bishop

Posted by Colour Sergeant Paul Bishop on 25 March 2012 at 17:35

i will never forget you dad love you with all my heart r.i.p dad love evelyn we will never forget you granda love lisa john courtney xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by evelyn on 23 March 2012 at 12:16

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