DOZENS of Carlisle United fans turned out to pay their respects to a club legend.

A hearse carrying Ron 'Ginger' Thompson left the family home at 3pm yesterday before making its way passed Brunton Park and on to Carlisle Crematorium.

Ginger's family had issued an appeal to fans asking them to wave him off as he passed his beloved football ground, with fans of all ages answering the call.

Standing on both sides of the road, fans applauded their hero as he as the hearse slowly passed his former stomping ground.

The man of many positions - who played 406 times for the Blues between 1951 and 1964 - lost his battle with bowel cancer on June 5.

He had suffered from Alzheimer’s for the past two decades, before being diagnosed with cancer 18 months ago.

Ginger often described himself as the "fittest man in Carlisle during his younger years, but his frailty in the lead up to his death made operating on him impossible.

With his wife Elsie by his side - he passed away peacefully.

Fans of all ages turned out to pay their respects to a player who meant so much - not just to Carlisle United fans - but football in general.

"I watched every game he played, explained 82-year-old Blues fan, Malcolm Dixon.

"When him and George Walker were running football teams my son played against their team.

"He (Ginger) was a very tough lad and he gave you 90 minutes. Him and Bobby Johnson were the first two Carlisle lads to make a substantial impact on the team.

"He will be a big miss to the football community in general. He made a big impact at all levels, especially at Carlisle City."

Colin Whitford, 65, of Stanwix, knew Ginger personally.

"I knew Ginger, I'm best mates with his son. I wanted to go to his funeral, but I can't as funerals are limited at this time.

"He had a wicked sense of humour. He was always accomodating to young lads with whatever sports there were doing. I remember I once, I was playing golf with Ginger's boy and Ginger was walking round.

"I hit a couple of crap shots and I went to hit the third and Ginger said: 'Just visualise hitting it straight into the middle of the green, a couple of feet from the pin.

"I creamed it and hit the best golf shot in my life, I was amazed."