Football stars join mourners at funeral for Ipswich Town’s Dalian Atkinson
- Credit: PA
Former stars from the football world joined mourners as emotional tributes were paid to ex-Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson at his funeral.
The 48-year-old died after he was shot with a police Taser when officers were called to an incident in his home town of Telford, Shropshire, earlier this year.
Hundreds of mourners - including family members, former Villa players Ian Taylor and Tommy Johnson, and football fans - gathered at the town's crematorium to see the striker laid to rest on Saturday.
It is weeks since Atkinson was fatally shot in the street where he had grown up, in an incident involving West Mercia Police officers, on August 15.
He died 90 minutes later, despite hospital doctors carrying out CPR for more than half an hour in a bid to save him.
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At his funeral, during the humanist service, celebrant Peter Mansell, said: 'There was no- one quite like Dalian, there never was before and there never will be again.'
He told how, as a youngster, he played football in the street in Meadow Close with his brothers and friends - the same road where he was shot by police years later.
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As a schoolboy, Atkinson was spotted by talent scouts, leading to his apprenticeship at Ipswich Town FC.
Mr Mansell said: 'He found sitting at a school desk boring, but excelled at football and athletics.'
He added that Atkinson loved the 'playboy lifestyle' was 'energetic, cheeky and funny' but also 'generous, caring and protective'.
Family man Atkinson was 'an inspiration to his nieces and nephews' and often went home 'for his mother's home cooking'.
Mr Mansell said: 'For those who loved Dalian, a part of their world is gone.'