Family and friends paid tribute and celebrated the life of a much-loved and well-known football and rugby fan.

Geoff Bland, of Silloth, died in March at Silloth Nursing Home at the age of 88.

Many turned out for Mr Bland’s funeral at Carlisle Crematorium on Wednesday.

Funeral goers were seen wearing bright clothes and sports shirts as they filed into the crematorium to the Match of the Day theme tune to celebrate his life and pay tribute to his love of sport.

His daughter, Margaret, said: “If you met dad you would soon realise very quickly he was into his rugby and football.

“He was very much into his sport and we just wanted to make it a celebration of his life instead of wearing the dark clothing.”

His children John, Geoffrey and Margaret have all paid tribute to their dad who was a “good bloke”.

Speaking to The Cumberland News, all three children recalled their dad’s love of sport.

Geoffrey said: “He was a sports man; he played on the football team here and he played rugby too.

“He just loved participating in or being part of the activities.”

Margaret said: “When he was younger he couldn’t afford a Newcastle United shirt, which was the team he supported, so he bought a white shirt and painted black stripes on it.”

Mr Bland was not just known for his love of sport in Silloth, but also because his parents owned the first shoe shop.

Mr Bland helped run the shop with his mother when his father died.

John said: “Him and his mum ran it effectively until he went to Australia in 1967.

“He was well-known to the community as a result of that, and he maintained his links with the community.

“If you started at the top of the street and walked down it, it would take you hours because everyone would stop for a chat.

“He had a good memory for people, particularly in the local area,” John continued.

“He was always very engaging, well-liked and happy to chat with people and always generous in his attitude.

“People warmed to him and he warmed to people.”

The Blands lived in Australia for many years, moving from Silloth to Australia multiple times. Mr Bland moved back to settle in Silloth from 1990.

Mr Bland had a passion for the Lake District, he was a member of Keswick Mountaineering Club from an early age and was could still be seen out walking the fells in his eighties.

John recalled: “He was very interested in the area and looking for crashed aeroplane sites.

“He donated a lot of things he found to local museums.”

Geoffrey added: “He was crazy about the Lakes.

“You could show him a picture and he would know where it was and which angle it was taken from, looking in what direction.”