HUNDREDS of people packed a Burnley church to say an emotional farewell to a fun-loving and devoted dad-of-three who collapsed and died at his Christmas party.
There was standing room only at St Mary’s RC Church, in Yorkshire Street, as family, friends and past and present colleagues of Mr Eamonn Kilbride watched the 46-year-old’s Liverpool-themed coffin brought in to the sound of “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the anthem of his beloved football team.
His wife Julie and three children, Laurajade, Jack and Conor, all paid their own personal tributes to Mr Kilbride, of Padiham Road, who was an IT director at Thwaites Brewery in Blackburn.
Julie said: “In the words of my beautiful husband ‘wow, fantastic to see so many people here.’
“And fantastic he was, in every sense of the word. He was my life and we were his. Every evening he would come home and say ‘hello’ in his Irish accent.
“He never once complained about his day at work, he worked so hard to provide for us.
“Eamonn inspired our children and he never stopped telling us how proud he was of us. My children are just like him.”
Laurajade told the congregation: “He was caring, funny, loving and kind whether you had known him a lifetime or five minutes, he treated you the same.”
Conor said his dad had taught all his children “compassion and humility.”
“Most of all he taught me how to tell a joke properly,” he added.
Jack, who has written poems in memory of his dad, also paid tribute to his sense of humour, telling mourners an Irish joke.
“I’m proud to be his son, he was a legend,” he added.
Fr Peter Hopkinson, who led the Requiem Mass, said the number of mourners was testament to Mr Kilbride’s popularity.
Members of the congregation clapped as his coffin was carried out of church to the sounds of Irish song “Raglan Road” by Luke Kelly before Mr Kilbride was taken on his final journey to be buried at Burnley Cemetery.